View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Developing Racial Subtypes for a Construct Race (HomeBrew Races 3? The.. Shellening?)

2015-01-05, 07:16 PM
If you're familiar with my other 2 threads, this is a natural progression. Otherwise, the idea is that I have a race of house-people. Basically, their real 'body' is the house, and they can animate a more typical constructed humanoid body in order to go out and be adventurers or farmers or whatever floats their.... house. Ahem. So I'll post the text of the race below, and then we'll talk subtypes.

Medium Construct (Living)
Speed 30ft
Does not require air, food, drink, or sleep
Immunity (Poison)
Immune to Blinded, Deafened, Exhausted, Poisoned, Stunned, Unconscious

Dual Nature: Bailecroi are composed of 2 parts; the home, which is their true self, and the shell, which is a constructed body they use to interact with the world around them. A Bailecroi’s soul naturally resides in its home, not in its shell. It is always aware of any damage to its structure, and as an action it can shift its attention to its home form; the shell is effectively Unconscious until the Bailecroi returns to it, and it may at any time inhabit one of its own shells as an action. The destruction of a shell does not mean death, merely inconvenience.

Heartstone: Every Bailecroi home contains a Heartstone, which can be made of any sufficiently sturdy material. This object contains the Bailecroi’s soul. If removed from the home, the Bailecroi loses their connection to that home. If destroyed, the Bailecroi dies, even if their home still stands. All Bailecroi shells contain a sliver of their Heartstone, and to construct an additional shell they must first permanently sacrifice 2 points of Constitution, representing the loss of the required sliver of their soul.

Bloodless Life: Bailecroi reduced to 0HP never have to roll death saves and are considered automatically stable, though their shell can still be destroyed by taking failed saves from damage.

Home Is Where the Heart Is: A Bailecroi home comes with many benefits over a typical dwelling. Vermin tend to shy away. Ceilings never leak. Floorboards never creak. The temperature is always comfortable, with no need for a fire. Residents gain advantage on saves against disease and poison, and healing from rest is doubled. As such, Bailecroi homes are coveted. Most Bailecroi choose inhabitants to reside in their home, allowing those inside to reap the many benefits in return for keeping the Bailecroi safe from harm. In addition, Bailecroi gain a sort of sustenance from the positive emotions of their inhabitants. Without it they tend to feel cold, empty, lacking purpose. When in home form, a Bailecroi can communicate telepathically with anyone else inside. They also gain Advantage on any saves to resist mental effects.

Shell Type: Bailecroi choose a subtype upon character creation, to reflect the shell their parent gave them, or that they had built for themselves. The shell is the subtype; if a Bailecroi changes shells, their subtype changes accordingly to match their new shell. While in home form, a Bailecroi has no subtype.

Ok so first, yes. They do have what basically amounts to discount lichdom. It's limited in the fact that making new shells is -expensive-. You need to find a craftsman capable, first off. You need to pay them large sums of money, and possibly acquire special materials on your own. And of course, you shave off a sliver of your own soul for each new shell you want to make. It's a flavorful option, mostly, and a sort of safety net for permanent character death, but I don't think it's especially overbalanced.

Speaking of balance. So these subtypes. These actually determine what stats (and maybe abilities?) the character has. I'm thinking of having at least 3, possibly 4 or more if I want some, ah, specialty options. The tricky bit here is representing them all equally, statwise, while still addressing the difference between a barebones wooden shell and an elaborate silver-gilded one with complex moving parts that simulate facial expressions. These things can look like anything from Grootlike hunks of wood to high-end porcelain dolls that could almost be mistaken for a blood-and-flesh person.

That said, there are a few archetypes I'm thinking of. First, the more simple, easy to make wooden shell. Imagine a jointed mannequin. What stats and benefits might this grant? Then there's shells constructed to be durable, built to resist wear and tear, and/or built for battle. And then you have your fancy-pantsy shells, which can come in all sorts of varieties but basically boil down to being as lifelike as possible. These are the ones that cost the most money, the ones that best fit social roles. I'm thinking Cha boost, and Charisma/social related perks.

Of course none of that is set in stone, there's room to explore other ideas. That's what this thread is for! Help me come up with these shells, these racial subtypes. The game starts in about a month and I can guarantee at least 1 person will want to play one of these. Show me what you glorious bastards/bastettes can do!

2015-01-06, 04:45 PM
I would avoid a Charisma boost for the social ones. Charisma is generally considered a bit of a vague stat even by D&D standards, but it's been slipping more and more to be primarily mental for years now. I don't feel like giving them a new shell should give them a higher sense of self, given how they've been flavored so far. Free social skill proficiency makes sense.

I'm thinking they might not get +1 or +2 to any abilities given the strength of their construct immunities, but should instead be given their choice of a feat that increases one of the six ability score stats by 1. This would be a unique way to end up with a non-human who starts with a feat.

2015-01-07, 04:53 PM
That would work better if there were more applicable feats. Probably the best starting point, though, would be to figure out what the kinds of shells are and then base stats/abilities around that.

So I'm thinking... there's basic shells built out of wood or simple stone, made for simple co-habitation or labor. There's more purpose-built shells, say of iron or steel or similar things, made for combat/adventuring/trouble. And then there are the social shells, the ritzy, glamorous ones where they have skin of carved marble, or are made of complex shifting parts that simulate muscle structure, or are like living statues of precious metals and gems fit for a pharaoh's tomb. These are the ones built for high-society, for courtly intrigue and scheming. I also feel like there could/should be shells built for rogue-like roles, athletic and stealthy and dextrous. The campaign revolves around intrigue, which means stuff like espionage and assassination are fairly commonplace. But I can't think of what they'd be made of.

2015-01-07, 10:07 PM
Maybe they'd be made of light wood and then have dark cloaks and heavily padded clothes (including "socks") to keep them from making too much noise.

2015-01-08, 07:24 AM
Alright, I've put together a very rough idea of how to handle this. Specifics could use some work, however. Basically there are 4 shell subtypes which cover 4 niches.

First, the most basic shell type. Probably constructed of simple wood/stone, this gains no stats benefits but gains a free feat of choice and possibly a single skill proficiency. Sort of a 'jack of all trades' option.

Next, the more durable combat/adventuring shell. This is made of sturdy metals. Possibly a Con+Str boost, and some sort of durability/toughness-related ability.

Then there's the lightweight shell built for stealth. Made of light alloys and possibly fey-touched wood, this would probably have Dex bonuses and then some sort of stealth and/or mobility abilities.

Finally, the social/wealthy shell type. This might be crafted out of ritzy marble, or gilded in gold and gems, or even be mechanically complex to the point of near-lifelike appearance. Cha bonus, and some sort of social ability.

None of the 3 specialized types should have something as boring as skill proficiency, ideally. Also, I'm trying to avoid blatantly combat-focused boosts for campaign reasons, which is why the 2nd type doesn't hit harder or the 3rd type doesn't get sneak-attack bonuses or anything like that. That said, still open to alternate ideas!

2015-01-08, 05:57 PM
Ohno, the dreaded double-post!

Anyway, been working on this before work, and here's a first draft of the subtypes. EDIT: I figured out something I can do. Still very first-draft, but it's more than blank space!

Domestic: You gain any one feat you’re qualified for, and you gain Proficiency in any one skill.

Sturdy: You gain +1HP per level, and have Advantage on Str and Dex saves against being knocked Prone.

Agile: Your speed increases to 35ft, and you may attempt to Hide even while being observed as long as you’re in an area of shadow.

Elegant: You gain Proficiency in Persuasion, and whenever you roll a Persuasion check you add double your Proficiency bonus.

You'll notice that last one's blank, and that's because I'm stumped here. Domestic and Durable were easy, and Agile was simple enough to figure out by looking at Wood Elves and the Dark template from 3.5, but.... I can't garner any inspiration from old material on social abilities because the old system for diplomacy is gone entirely, and they don't seem to have bothered designing any social abilities for the 5e races. I.... really don't know what to do, here.

Ahem. Input greatly appreciated!