View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Gnoll Race and subraces (PEACH)

2018-08-07, 12:27 PM
I've seen a few Gnoll homebrew races before but for fun, I thought I'd take a crack at it. This is probably pretty strong, yes, but I'm hoping not too fundamentally imbalanced. I took elements from different Gnoll enemies and put them into each subrace to try and make them feel distinct, and I hope I did a good job with it.

Gnoll and subraces

Gnolls are group of hyena-men descended from demons. They're a common threat, and a base scavenger. Most have little sense of reason due to living in small tribes that worship of the vicious god Yeenohghu, who commands them to rape, pillage, and burn their way across the lands. Murder isn't so much something that a Gnoll does - its a way of life. However, in the rare event that a Gnoll manages to break from their tribe's brainwashing, or their tribe needs an ambassador to act in their interest, a Gnoll can be a surprising companion. Those that still follow their tribe's customs are still known for being fickle and violent, but those that no longer worship Yeenohghu are as capable and reliable as any other species of man, and these rare individuals are sought after commonly as they are well known for receiving martial training in their time living with their tribe. Sadly, Gnolls do not live live very long. They reach maturity around the age of three but even if they do not succumb to the maladies of disease or violence, they tend to not live longer than thirty years. They tend to weigh around 300 pounds (~135KG) and are around 7ft. tall (~2 meters) in most cases.

Gnoll Traits

Ability Score Increase: Your Strength and Constitution increase by 1.
Speed: 30ft.
Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Rampage: When you reduce a creature's hit points to 0 or get a critical hit on a creature, you may move up to half your speed and make a bite attack as a bonus action.
Bite: Your teeth are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
Language: Common and Gnoll.

Striped Gnoll (Flind)

Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution increases by 1.
Flind Wielder: You gain proficiency in Flails.
Flind Strike: As a bonus action, you can make an additional melee weapon attack on your turn once per short rest.
Yeenohghu's Favor: When you make a melee weapon attack, you may add one of the following effects to it upon a hit: Add 1d6 Psychic damage. Alternatively, the enemy must make a Constitution saving throw or be Stunned until the end of its next turn. Alternatively, force an enemy to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must take a single melee attack against a random target within its reach at the start of its next turn. Your DC for these effects is 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Constitution modifier. Once you use this trait, you cannot use it again until you finish a short rest.

Spotted Gnoll
Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 1.
Incite Rampage: When you make use of your Rampage feature, a number of creatures within 30ft. of you equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of 1) may use their reaction to move up to half of their movement speed. This feature may be used once per long rest.
Sudden Rush: When you dash, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Fangs of Yeenohghu: When you use your bite attack, you can choose to inflict 2d6 poison damage in addition to the standard damage up to twice per short rest.

2018-08-07, 02:57 PM
Oooh, gnolls are fun!

The base traits look fine, but I have some points of concern on the subraces.

First, Flind: Flind Strike is pretty busted on something like, say, Barbarian, which can reasonably cancel out disadvantage at any time. It also, personally, doesn't evoke much that's interesting. Something that'd reflect ferocity more, maybe, is 1d6 bites, perhaps, but Spotted already has that.

Spotted is a bit more of an issue; Incite Rampage is basically giving your entire party a fairly consistent reaction attack, as things will be dying a lot if your entire party is making reaction attacks. Fangs of Yeenoghu is also a bit of a problem; 1d6 + 1d4 is really powerful on unarmed strikes, and makes them the best monks in the game (even with +1d4 damage being poison).

If you want to keep Incite Rampage, I'd recommend lowering it to 1/rest. Fangs I'd probably remove in general, maybe make 1d6 bites a base race trait?

2018-08-07, 03:27 PM
I've changed it up a bit. I hope it looks a bit better, now.

2018-08-07, 05:36 PM
Let's apply "Detect Balance" and see what comes out.

Base Racial Traits:

+2 ASI = +8
30ft Speed = +0
60ft Darkvision = +3
Rampage = It's situational, so I'm going to say +4
1d6 Bite = +2

Subtotal = 17

Striped Gnoll Subrace Traits:

+1 ASI = +4
Flail Proficiency = let's say +1
Flind Strike = An additional bonus action attack only once per short rest isn't too powerful so maybe +2
Yeenohghu's Favor = Cool and really powerful in the right situation with a fair amount of versatility too. Sooo +8? I mean, stun can be a game-changer.

Total = 32

Spotted Gnoll Subrace Traits:

+1 ASI = +4
Incite Rampage = Situational but pretty powerful so I'm going to rank it like an L2 spell once per day at +4
Sudden Rush = Impressive mobility and could be abused with Cunning Action but ASIs don't synergize with rogue, so I'm going to say it's equivalent to a Medium resistance at +3
Fangs of Yeenohghu = The poisoned condition is actually REALLY powerful in the right situations, even if only ONCE per long rest and the duration of the poisoning isn't limited in duration either... so at least like +10

Total = 38... at least.

Typically, 32 is considered a really strong race. Variant Human gets 33. The two stand out exceptions that go above that are Aarakocra at 41 mostly due to how highly flight is valued (the debate about how valued it actually should be rages ever on) and Yuan-ti purebloods have something insane like a 47 almost solely because they have BLANKET MAGIC RESISTANCE! Which is super-awesome and all but really, really strong compared to everything else in the game. I mean at least gnome cunning restricts itself to mental saving throws.

So I don't think there's much to change with the Striped Gnolls if you're happy to have a race that's a little on the strong side - though I am maybe underestimating the Yeenohghu's Favor feature. Actually on that, why would anyone ever choose to use the extra 1d6 psychic damage over a chance at stun or attacking another foe? Go ahead, increase the damage, should be fine. If I was being harsher in my evaluation, I'd recommend maybe replacing the stunned condition with incapacitated. Incapacitated characters miss their turn but attacks against them don't have auto-advantage for the duration... even incapacitated and falls prone - like they have a fainting spell from the sheer terror of the flind - so only melee has advantage and ranged gets disadvantage. Actually I like the flavor of that, like the prey falling down makes them vulnerable for the pack to pile on. HAHAHA, FEED!!!

The Spotted Gnolls, are powerful... like significantly more powerful. Mostly just because Fangs of Yeenohghu is so strong and it's TWICE per long rest. Just to drive home how powerful poisoned can be, Ray of Sickness if a first level spell that can deal 2d8 poison damage and cause a target to be poisoned for one turn. The only other spell I know of that causes poisoning is Eyebite. Obviously that can do a bit more than just poison a single target but it is the only spell I can think of where you can inflict poisoned for more than a round, it deals no damage and it's a 6th level spell! The easiest fix is to replace the effect of Fangs of Yeenohghu with a melee version of Ray of Sickness (mechanically I mean). This means the Poisoned condition doesn't last more than one turn and you can up the damage to match Ray of Sickness without being game-breakingly powerful. Could it be once per long rest though? If you really want it to be twice per long rest you could remove the damage to make it a bit more balanced. Twice per long rest you have a shot at poisoning a target for a round. Nothing to shake a stick at but not too powerful.

Ultimately though, if it's cool with you're table and those people think it's fine, it's fine. Don't worry about it. Just have fun!

2018-08-07, 08:38 PM
I weakened the poison bite to just a damage boost a couple times a short rest. A little boring but still communicates the flavor of having poisonous fangs and its probably effective enough mechanically speaking.

2018-08-08, 12:13 AM
Oh yeah, that's definitely balanced, imo.

And to be clear, adding in a round of poisoned ain't a huge problem, it's that the poisoning could persist that makes it so powerful.