View Full Version : D&D races remade to be more flexible (v3.5) PEACH

Shark Uppercut
2011-04-09, 01:25 AM
It's obvious that the traditional D&D races are unbalanced. Go to any brilliantgameologists.com optimization guide, and check the most useful race they recommend. Human, right? Maybe strongheart halfing, which is basically a Small human. Elves get shafted with the Constitution penalty, and dwarves make off like bandits with all their save bonuses and a Constitution bonus.

What's more, some of the racial abilities just aren't that fun, or are only useful in some situations. In his forest homeland, how often will your elf really benefit from his secret door searching? How often will your dwarf use Stonecunning if they're hunting pirates on the open sea?

This is my stab at making all races equal.
WARNING: These races are, usually, more powerful than standard D&D races. I just want them to be equally powerful.
NOTE: Assume that races retain the skill bonuses listed in their original source, and well as racial languages and racial weapon proficiencies. Half-orcs/elves are considered both humans and orcs/elves for effects that vary by race. Otherwise, they only get what's listed here.
Aasimar and tieflings are considered normal humanoids, not outsiders.
Warforged are normal humanoids with some immunities, not living constructs. They need to sleep and breath, but not eat or drink.
Warforged can wear armor and robes like normal people, their plating isn't considered light armor.

Rather than arbitrarily say that all dwarves are tough and gruff, all elves graceful and asthmatic, you can now choose your stat bonuses and penalties. You can't boost any stat and lower any other one, but you aren't forced to use the default layout.

One more thing: in addition to acid, fire, cold and the rest, there's a new energy type: poison. Details:
Creatures immune to poison, whether by creature type or temporary effect, are immune to poison damage. Creatures with a save bonus to normal poisons have that number as a poison resistance.
DMs should consider swapping out ability damage from certain creatures' poisonous attacks, and putting in poison (hit point) damage.

+2 Constitution or Wisdom
-2 Charisma or Dexterity
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Resistance to poison 5. (The new kind that does HP damage)
Resilience: What doesn't kill a dwarf, makes him stronger. Once per encounter, when a dwarf successfully saves versus a spell, spell-like ability or poison (that kind that doesn't do HP damage), they can choose to actually heal health. Subtract 10 from the save DC. That's how much HP they heal. If they reach max HP, they gain the rest as temporary HP lasting 1 hour.

+2 Dexterity or Intelligence
-2 Constitution or Strength
Immune to sleep and paralysis.
Veteran of Wars: The long-lived elves may be peaceful, but their neighbors aren't. Goblins, gnolls, orcs, giants, the occasional dragon or demon. They've been on battlefields, and fought enemies face to face. Yes, even the wizards. And they've learned to survive.
An elf gets Combat Expertise as a bonus feat, and they need not meet the prerequisites. They can apply the feat at any time in combat, not just when attacking. When using the feat, they gain the dodge bonus and gain a racial attack bonus equal to their Intelligence modifier. The dodge bonus still can't exceed their BAB, but it is no longer capped at +5. The attack bonus can only be large enough to cancel out the normal attack penalty, which is their dodge bonus as a negative number.
(A 7th level wizard has an Intelligence of 15. While spellcasting, he uses Combat Expertise. His BAB of +3 means he can take -3 attack and +3 AC. His +2 Intelligence modifier means he gets +2 attack, so he really only has -1 to hit. If his intelligence was 19, he would have no attack penalty, but he couldn't have an actual attack bonus.)

+2 Constitution or Intelligence
-2 Strength or Wisdom
Permanently have an Arcane Sight effect that can't be dispelled, but only functions out to 15 ft, not 120 ft as the spell normally would. Effective caster level is their character level.
Small size.
Technician: Gnomes are skilled at working with magic items of all sorts. Whenever a gnome uses a magic item, treat it as if it was created by a caster one level higher than stated.
(A scroll of Mage Armor that costs 25 GP is assumed to be made by a 1st level sorcerer/wizard, according to the DMG. For a gnome it would be treated as made by a 2nd level sorcerer/wizard, and still cost 25 GP.)

Orc, Ork, or Half-Orc depending on the campaign world and DM
+2 Charisma or Strength
-2 Intelligence or Wisdom
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Fury/Spellfury: Orcs love to lose themselves in the fury of war. Even spellcasters can enter a state of hatred, making their spells more hurtful.
Once per encounter, an orc can enter a rage, similar to that of a 1st level barbarian, and lasting a number of rounds equal to their (new) Constitution modifier. They gain +2 Strength or Constitution, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and take a -2 AC penalty. If they are also a barbarian, they instead gain the normal rage bonuses (which are twice as big) and the normal duration, and negate the -2 AC penalty that non-orc barbarians get.
Other orcs can enter another kind of fury. It can be done once per encounter, and lasts a number of rounds equal to their primary spellcasting ability modifier. Any spells are considered by at +1 caster level, and any save DCs are increased by 1.
At character creation, choose either the melee rage or the spell fury ability. This choice can't be changed later.


No stat bonuses or penalties. Humans are normal.
Determination: Even though they may be short lived, humans make as much of an impact on the world as any other race. Once per encounter, a human can reroll almost any die roll, before the DM declares the roll a success/failure. The only thing they can't reroll is a natural 1 on a d20.

Half-elves, but elves call them Half-humans
No stat bonuses or penalties. Half-elves are mostly normal.
Aptitude: Half-elves are familiar with both elven and human culture, and frequently travel abroad to meet other races and expand their knowledge. At first level, a half-elf gets 2 bonus skill points, and every even level they get another bonus skill point.
At character creation, a half-elf can choose one skill, which doesn't need to be on their starting class's skill list. It will always be counted as a class skill for the half-elf, no matter what class they are.

+2 Charisma or Dexterity
-2 Strength or Wisdom
Small size.
Small Man, Big Luck: A halfling in a bind . . is a halfling who hasn't yet gotten lucky. A halfling gets a racial bonus on all saves equal to their Charisma modifier, but not exceeding their level. Once per day, a halfling can reroll any d20 that isn't an attack roll, before the DM declares the roll a success/failure.
Dirty Fighter: A halfling gets a bonus to damage rolls with thrown weapons, slings and daggers equal to their Dexterity modifier, but not exceeding their level.

Aasimar, 0 LA
+2 Charisma or Wisdom
-2 Constitution or Strength
Darkvision to 60 ft.
The Light Protects Me: Having an angelic relative protects aasimars from the many woes of the material world. Once per encounter, they can gain immunity to one energy type. This takes no action to activate but must be activated on their turn. It lasts until the end of their next turn.

Tiefling, 0 LA
+2 Dexterity or Intelligence
-2 Charisma or Wisdom
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Vicious: Whatever path they walk, tieflings have little compunctions about hurting others. If a tiefling rolls a 1 when rolling damage, they can reroll that die. If it comes up a 1 again, they can't roll a third time. In any encounter, they can only reroll a number of dice equal to their level.

Drow, 0 LA
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma or Intelligence or Wisdom
-2 Constitution and Strength
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Body of Shadow: Drow can wreathe their body in shadow, making it hard to see where they are exactly. This can be done once per encounter, and only takes a free action to activate. It lasts 1 round per level. They gain 10% concealment, and at 3rd, 9th and 15th levels this increases by 10%. They also gain a bonus to Hide checks equal to their level.

Duergar, 0 LA
+4 Constitution
-2 Charisma and Dexterity
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Fade Away: Duergar are sneaky bastards who can disappear in a flash. They do this to escape, and to lay ambushes. Once per encounter, a duergar can turn invisible as a free action. This lasts till the end of their next turn, but can stop functioning prematurely if the duergar breaks it (such as by attacking).

Svirfneblin, 0 LA
+2 Dexterity or Wisdom
-2 Charisma or Strength
Small size.
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Unfindable: Svirfneblin spend their whole lives avoiding other races, for they have had too many bad run-ins with drow, duergar, illithids, aboleths . . pretty much the rest of the underdark. Svirfneblin benefit from a continuous Nondetection effect that can't be dispelled. Effective caster level is their character level. They can take 10 on Hide and Move Silently checks, even if they are distracted or threatened.

+2 Constitution or Intelligence
-2 Charisma or Wisdom
Inorganic Body: A warforged is immune to sleep, poison, disease, energy drain and bleeding effects.
Body of War: A warforged gains DR 1/adamantine.

Jormung-spawn, or reskinned Yuan-Ti with 0 LA
+2 Dexterity of Intelligence
-2 Charisma or Constitution
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Reptilian subtype, humanoid type.
Immune to poison.
Sons of the Serpent: Yuan-ti are humanoids who were changed by the presence of Jormungand, the world serpent, nemesis of Thor, the son of Loki. As move action, a Jormung-spawn can apply their own venom to a melee weapon they wield, or 5 projectiles they have on hand. It retains its potency for 1 hour. As an attack action, they can spit poison at someone within 30 ft, as a ranged touch attack. As part of a successful grapple check, they can spit toxin on an opponent. On a weapon, the poison does 1 poison damage per level. As a ranged attack or grapple, the poison does 1d4 poison damage per level. They also gain +1 natural armor.

Shifters, or Wolven, or Worgen, or whatever you call 'em
+2 Dexterity or Strength
-2 Charisma or Intelligence
Shapechanger subtype, humanoid type.
Sons of the Wolf: Shifters are humanoids who were changed by the presence of Fenrir, the progenitor wolf, bane of Odin, the son of Loki. They have DR 1/silver and the scent ability. They gain the Wild Empathy ability, but only usable towards wolves, dogs, and canine-like creatures.
Unleash the Beast: Once per encounter, they can become a human-wolf hybrid with incredible durability. This lasts a number of rounds equal to their (new) Constitution modifier, and takes no action to activate, similar to a barbarian's rage. They get +2 Constitution, and they gain a natural armor bonus equal to their (new) Constitution modifier.

Whad'ya think? If you were DMing, would you allow these races? Are they equally good?

2011-04-09, 02:48 AM
some of these are definite improvements
however i feel you make a couple of mistakes.
just a few
allowing humans to take +2 anything -2 anything?
This basically means that any player in his right mind will automatically get a huge bonus and not have to worry about the pentalty stat because he can just dump in it. all human fighters would have +2 strength and -2 charisma
wizards +2 strength -2 charisma
Sorcerors +2 charisma -2 intelligence
it just wouldnt work

another problem is in the elf BAB thing. By advancing the BABs you are making some classes something they are not
you are making clerics easily combat characters as well as rogues, it doesnt seem right to me.

A final problem, your orc rage thing... Thats all that makes barbarians special! I might accept it if you toned down the rage like -2 penalty to ac and only +1 strength and const but as stands it hurts the barbarian class

however i would like to say for every mistake there are a couple of good things,
with some editing this will be great

Shark Uppercut
2011-04-09, 04:13 AM
Humans, elves, orcs. Changed 'em.

I'm a great believer in equal opportunity. That's why I like Ebberon and it's sketchy alignments, because it's much easier to play a 'bad boy' race. Goblins, orcs, gnolls: potential characters. Similarly, World Of Warcraft has troll and Tauren minotaur races, how cool is that?

Troll, 0 LA
+2 Constitution or Strength
-2 Charisma or Intelligence
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Force of Life: The only way to know a troll is dead, is to cut off his head and carry it around with you for a year. That's what some people say, at least. A troll heals the same amount of hit points every hour that a normal person would regain every day (1 or 2 HP/level, depending on how much rest they're getting). Similarly, a troll heals as much ability damage every hour as would a normal person who's rested for a day. Once per week, a troll heals 1 point of ability drain in 1 ability score. This can't restore Constitution lost to resurrection spells, or drain from incredibly powerful or dangerous effects. But if it says that Wish or Miracle can restore the drain, a troll can heal it.

Minotaur, 0 LA
+2 Strength or Wisdom
-2 Dexterity or Intelligence
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Big as a Bull: A minotaur gains the Powerful Build ability, letting them be treated as a Large person in many cases where it would be advantageous to be Large.
Charge into Combat: A minotaur gains Powerful Charge as a bonus feat, and need not fulfill the prerequisites. And yes, they use the damage of a Large charging character.

Hobgoblin, 0 LA
+2 Dexterity or Constitution
-2 Charisma or Wisdom
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Tactically Trained: Hobgoblins fight in as many wars as orcs do, sometimes they even manage to ally together. But when orcs howl themselves into a frenzy, hobgoblins keep a cool mind and wait for their opponent to slip up. A hobgoblin gains Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat. If an enemy ever rolls a natural 1 on an attack within reach of a hobgoblin, it provokes an attack of opportunity. For every attack of opportunity a hobgoblin makes in an encounter they get +1 morale bonus on damage rolls for the rest of the encounter. This bonus can't exceed their level.

+2 Dexterity or Wisdom
-2 Charisma or Strength
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Misleading: Where a hobgoblin waits for an opponent to drop their focus, a goblin runs out of patience, throws sand in their eyes, finishes them off and moves on to the next victim. Once per encounter when fighting an enemy that isn't mindless, a goblin can spend a standard psyching out an opponent, kicking them in the crotch, or otherwise confounding them. Regardless of what they were doing, they provoke an attack of opportunity from all the goblin's allies within reach, and the goblin itself. If they don't have Uncanny Dodge, they are also considered flat-footed for the goblin's attack of opportunity.

+2 Charisma or Dexterity
-2 Constitution or Strength
Darkvision to 60 ft.
Reptilian subtype, humanoid type.
Blood of Dragons: At character creation, a kobold picks one sorcerer spell, on either the 0th level or 1st level spell lists. Once per encounter, they can cast that spell. Arcane spell failure does not apply. They are considered to have the Eschew Materials feat for the spell, but components with a monetary cost are still needed. Even if the spell would normally continue in duration, it ceases when the encounter ends. Caster level is their character level.

2011-04-09, 04:22 AM
Honestly, I'd still probably take Human for most purposes. At low-mid levels, the extra feats are huge in terms of build flexibility. After that, it's not like anyone else's racial abilities are scaling especially well anyway.

Exceptions: Casters can always make a good case for a race with +2 to their casting stat, and a few races do have abilities that stay tasty. Tieflings and Gnomes both have good abilities (especially since their Int bonus goes with the caster thing) and Minotaurs' Powerful Build is always great for melee types.

Dumbledore lives
2011-04-09, 04:34 AM
I say you let humans have their original traits, they don't really need anything to compete with these new races. It makes humans a decent option, but almost never the first. Two bonus feats is just a bit too much.

Shark Uppercut
2011-04-09, 04:35 AM
Dumb idea, please forgive me. They get 1 feat now. One.
EDIT: Trying to make bonuses that will scale with level, or at least be useful at high levels.

2011-04-09, 08:40 AM
These look good, but there are some issues.

As written, an ork (or orc, whatever) caster almost always ignores concealment, and always gets +2 to spell dc's. If the activation is the same as normal rage (or even a move action), the duration means that it will last all encounter, and will be usable all the time. This ability singlehandedly makes orcs the best Cha based casters, and puts them very high for other casting classes. This ability is also much more powerful than the normal rage one, as save bonuses don't scale at the same rate as armor bonuses.

Also, minotaurs are by far the best melee race (powerful built is just that good, even if it is ruled to not give increased range), and powerful charge is just gravy.

The hobgoblin racial ability could easily get ridiculous if one could get any sort of knock back effect on a weapon, shock trooper and a wall (add dungeon crasher for extra fun) and you get unlimited attacks.

First of all, while all of these races are as powerful or more so then the original, the humans are simply worse. One feat might look powerful, but right now, no archetype really benefits from this; orcs are better casters, minotaurs are better beatsticks, dwarves are better tanks, thieflings or goblins are better sneak attacker's, and hobgoblin are gods of non-magical crowd control.

Shark Uppercut
2011-04-09, 06:20 PM
Orcs and hobgoblins, changed.

Ok, ok, ok. If you've played World of Warcraft, you may have recognized what I'm doing: getting rid of rid of static bonuses (for the most part), and giving each race a somewhat powerful 1/encounter ability, of limited duration. Just like how each WoW race has a somewhat powerful ability on a couple minute cooldown.
Dwarves and aasiamar now have powerful encounter abilities rather than static bonuses.
Now for humans . . maybe they don't deserve a bonus feat at all. What's a benefit, that's not feat- or skill-related, that any class could use?
Any ideas?

Hiro Protagonest
2011-04-09, 06:29 PM
I think you should keep human racial traits as in the players handbook, but with 2 extra skill points at 1st level, and an extra skill point at every even-numbered level after that.

Edit: also, you should let humans treat a single cross-class skill as a class skill, no matter what their class.

Shark Uppercut
2011-04-09, 07:11 PM
Interesting idea. For now, I'm trying out the idea of humans having a weak reroll ability, which really any class could use.
Since half-elves spend time in 2 cultures, they'd pick up more know-how than other races. So for now, they're getting your skill bonuses. I was thinking of giving them a weak bardic knowledge thing, but skills are more broadly applicable.
EDIT: Kobolds added in.

2011-04-09, 07:39 PM
Interesting, I toyed with allowing a choice of a +2 and a -2 to abilities like what you're doing, but I gave up on that idea.

I like what you're doing so far, though it does somewhat feel like 4th edition. That's not neccessarily a bad thing though.

For humans in my setting, I gave them a choice of one of the heart abilities, from pathfinder alternate racial features (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/core-races/human), in addition to PHB standard traits and made some up more heart abilities on my own. That's only to make humans more attractive though, since the benefits are generally very niche.
For my version of half-orcs, I gave them a modified version of the pathfinder ferocity, except usable for a number of rounds equal to half HD, minimum 1.

Heart of Battle: Once per day a human may ignore an effect that would cause them to become fatigued or exhausted, and add half their character level +1 to their wound points.
Ferocity: The first time in the encounter a half-orc takes wound point damage he does not become fatigued, and gains a +2 bonus to resist being stunned any time wound damage is taken. Once per day when brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight as if disabled for a number of rounds equal to one + half HD, and at the end of his next turn unless, brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.

These of course assume vitality and wound points, though ferocity is still useful without them.