View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Tweaking races

2014-08-08, 08:07 PM
I'm building a new setting with a set number of races, mostly the standard player races +/- a few others. I wanted to tweak them a little to make them more distinct physically while getting rid of all the cultural specific bonuses which I find rather essentialist and implying boring monocultural races. I also left out mental stats, those and the cultural bonuses will be covered with templates.

Below are the races in play with short descriptions and their abilities. Please let me know if you think they're unbalances and if so how I can improve them, particularly the poor orcs where I drew a blank.

An adaptable and populous race descended from hunter gatherers that has spread all around the big continent. Possesses great stamina and toughness.

+2 con, medium size, 30 ft land speed, endurance as bonus feat.

Related to humans originating in the north of the big continent from where they've spread. Adapted to cold environments being shorter but wider with a layer of blubber under their skin. More cumbersome but perhaps even hardier than humans.

-2 dex, +2 con, medium size, 20 ft land speed (no penalty for medium armour), dark vision 60 ft, +1 natural armour, re-roll against poison once per encounter, hibernation*

*Can hibernate in tough conditions for constitution score weeks without food and drink (have to hash out how sleeping and waking would happen).

Also related to humans, spreading from the tropical archipelagos to the south east of the big continent. Smaller and nimbler than humans but not as tough although adroit at avoiding danger.
-2 str, +2 dex, small size, 30ft land speed, low light vision, +1 racial bonus in saves, +1 dodge bonus to AC.

Descended from omnivorous reptiles on a large island of the east coast of the big continent where they predominate. Live underground where they can burrow and hunt small animals.
-2 str, +2dex, -2con, small size, slight build, 20 ft land speed, 10 ft burrowing speed, darkvision 60 ft, bite attack 1d3 damage.

Descended from predators of the plains of the middle of the big continent. Haven't spread outside of that region in large groups. Carnivores and strongest of the bipedal intelligent races with sharp claws and teeth.
+4 str, +2 dex, +2 con, medium size, low light vision, 30 ft land speed, 2x claw attacks (primary) 1d4 damage, 1d4 bite attack (secondary), quadruped*, Level adjustment +2 (assuming buy-off).

*Can run on four feet gaining 20 ft land speed but loosing the ability to hold and manipulate objects in hands.

Tree dwelling herbivores from the smaller continent. Inhabited the vast forests and jungles of the northern part but have been driven from the coast by settlers. Quick and nimble but frailer than other races. They have long lifespans but take long to reach physical maturity.
+2dex, -2 con, medium size, 40 ft land speed, 20 ft climb speed, low light vision, longevity*

*Elves start with 4 + int modifier skill points in perform, profession or craft skills of their choice.

Originate in the deserts and plains of the southern part of the smaller continent. Large and strong (I don't know, I don't want them to be inherently evil or warriors or something, I was even thinking about telepathy or some kind of a group bonus).
+2 str, -2 dex, medium size, powerful build, 30 ft land speed, low light vision,

2014-08-08, 11:15 PM
A few things jump out:

Halflings: They're medium size. Is this intentional? If it is, you might consider calling them something else; I think most players will expect them to be small.

Kobolds: A burrow speed can circumvent a lot of traditional obstacles. Think carefully before allowing this.

Gnolls: Even with LA Buyoff, I don't see them as being worth the +2. Maybe if you're only playing at high levels, they'd be OK, but I'd probably make them LA +1.

Orcs: The easiest buff would probably be dark vision (or superior low-light vision) in place of low-light vision. That said, with +2 Strength and Powerful Build, they're not too bad as is. If you just want something to make them more unique, giving them telepathy is a possibility, though it's power ranges from useless to very, very good, depending on setting and play style. You could limit the amount they can use the ability every day, or you could make it so that they can only communicate telepathically with people with whom they have an established connection (meaning it's useful for party communication, but doesn't allow them to communicate with every monster they encounter).

2014-08-08, 11:39 PM
Oops, halflings were supposed to be small. Fixed it.

I figured the burrowing speed would give Kobolds something special and balance the pitiful stats. I'd welcome any alternatives though or maybe I could reduce it to 5ft even.

Good to hear Gnolls aren't too powerful, I'll gladly reduce it to LA 1.

Maybe powerful build is good enough on its own, but something special would be nice. Limited telepathy between orcs only might do but I'm open to anything. Something that would affect their society.

2014-08-08, 11:42 PM
Orcs could have telepathy that only works with other orcs, if you want to go down that route. Bear in mind that giving them racial telepathy opens up Mindsight (LoM) though. Other than that, looks good. Looking forward to seeing your set of cultural bonuses to go with it.

2014-08-11, 03:19 PM
That's going to be headache to balance but I guess I'd try to balance it around the aristocracies and warrior castes of each society. People would then have settle for a slightly suboptimal choice if they wanted to be a [North continent farmer]. That might still make sense if you really wanted weapon proficiency with a scythe or the handle animal skill with a class that didn't provide that.

Mental stat bonus templates are another concern. I was wonder if I should provide sets of bonuses and penalties, like +2 int, -2 str etc. or just give people a choice of +2 to a stat of their choice.