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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Lightbulb Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    James Musicus has a produced a well-known scale to try to measure the power of 5e races.
    It has been immensely helpful to the community, but I beleive it can be improved. The main problem is that it is not more granular than 1/2 an ASI. Circumstantial ribbons, like an extra language, or tool proficiency are rated equally with extremely useful abilities like Darkvision. Additionally I've provided guidelines for evaluating new features.

    Balancing races is still a combination of art and science-- no system of numbers will tell the whole story. But a better system can be devised. Please improve this with your feedback.

    The average score for PHB and EE races by this scale is just over 6. The lowest is 4.75, and the highest is 7.25. One evidence that this scale works better than the Musicus scale is that the PHB races tend to cluster tighter around the average score.

    Also note that the file has a second tab where I've scored all the SRD races.

    I hope others find this useful, and that it can be improved.

    ------------

    Link to the "Detect Balance" Scale

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    It seems strange to weight the ribbons at all though considering Wizard say they don't weigh them when they create stuff.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pivotal View Post
    It seems strange to weight the ribbons at all though considering Wizard say they don't weigh them when they create stuff.
    I don't claim to replicate how they built the races-- probably more of intuition and testing than numbers.

    But there's no clear boundary between a ribbon and a situational feature. And also I think that rating ribbons at 0 ASI would encourage homebrew that had a lot of ribbons, in the belief that it was still balanced, but 5 features that are only useful 2% of the time is much better than only one of them.

    And besides the mechanical advantage (or lack thereof) assigning a cost to each feature, (no matter how weak) encourages conciseness and brevity --- which is also an important part of making a race in the 5e style.

    Part of my goal is to create a tool that makes it help make generally good homebrew, not just balanced homebrew.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Very good points. I agree.

    Next project make the same system for class balancing? :P

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pivotal View Post
    Next project make the same system for class balancing? :P
    I'd love to see such a thing -- but that's a much more complicated problem. I don't claim to be able to wrap my head around it.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    I'd argue that having the core races rated closer together actually reflects poorly on a system, considering the large disparity between Dragonborn and Hill Dwarf, but the tighter, more in-depth scale is nice. I'll check the races I've made against it and see how they compare once I'm on a computer that has a better word processor than WordPad...
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    Quote Originally Posted by digiman619 View Post
    Spoiler: True Facts
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    I'd argue that having the core races rated closer together actually reflects poorly on a system, considering the large disparity between Dragonborn and Hill Dwarf, but the tighter, more in-depth scale is nice. I'll check the races I've made against it and see how they compare once I'm on a computer that has a better word processor than WordPad...
    I'm not sure if that is true anymore anyway. I've gotten a lot of feedback and changed some numbers.

    Though there are still plenty of things that I'm unsure of that haven't seen debate.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Quote Originally Posted by eleazzaar View Post
    I'm not sure if that is true anymore anyway. I've gotten a lot of feedback and changed some numbers.

    Though there are still plenty of things that I'm unsure of that haven't seen debate.
    Breath Weapon is good, but not quite 1.5 worth (1.25 maybe?), though your note on the resistance is good. DB need just a little something to get them up to snuff, a skill proficiency maybe, and then they're fine, but only having three features leaves them lacking in comparison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by digiman619 View Post
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    I agree they are on the weak end mechanically. At least on paper-- at the table they haven't seemed crippled in my limited experience.

    1.5 may well be more than the breath weapon is worth-- I've heard various opinions, and don't feel especially confident with the answer.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    By in large most races seem around the same power level, in play at least. The big exception being Varian Human, since feats at level 1 are so easily the most powerful and game breaking thing a race can do.

    Also, what is the "4: 4" about on the minotaur?
    Spoiler: bad tactics
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    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Thanks, fixed the "4" typo.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Great to see that you're using VLOOKUP now (I'm the guy who suggested it on reddit). However you're not doing it in several cases. I'd suggest doing it in all cases so it's easy to make custom races. For example tiefling's "Poor synergy" or the UA & DMG races.

    I know you like things on the left, but for consistency sake I'd suggest getting rid of the divider column and moving the values to the right. I think that may also fix your graph not having labels - I'll try to fix it.

    You've bloated the values which I think is rather beneficial.
    Your valuation for "L2 spell 1/day" is 6 which is the same as "Standard Delayed Magic". "Standard Delayed Magic" has the L2 spell, a cantrip, and a 1st level spell. The level 2 spell is delayed, but these shouldn't be valued so differently imo. Many games ignore levels 1 and 2 as well.

    You value "L1 spell at 3rd, L2 Spell at 5th, 1/day" at 1 which doesn't match up with "Standard Delayed Magic" though I'm not sure where you'd use this.


    I'll port my races to this new version and come up with more suggestions.
    Last edited by Kryx; 2016-09-26 at 09:30 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kryx View Post
    Great to see that you're using VLOOKUP now (I'm the guy who suggested it on reddit). However you're not doing it in several cases. I'd suggest doing it in all cases so it's easy to make custom races. For example tiefling's "Poor synergy" or the UA & DMG races.
    I want to make the chart useable, and inflating the guide page with every possible combination works against that goal.

    Also as I venture into racial features further afield from PHB features, it will become more like guideline-ish as the natural weapons section.

    I know you like things on the left, but for consistency sake I'd suggest getting rid of the divider column and moving the values to the right. I think that may also fix your graph not having labels - I'll try to fix it.

    I've done a lot of work as a graphic designer. Ease of reading and looking good trumps consistency in my book. Making the chart work might be worth it.

    You've bloated the values which I think is rather beneficial.
    Your valuation for "L2 spell 1/day" is 6 which is the same as "Standard Delayed Magic". "Standard Delayed Magic" has the L2 spell, a cantrip, and a 1st level spell. The level 2 spell is delayed, but these shouldn't be valued so differently imo. Many games ignore levels 1 and 2 as well.


    Yeah, that section had redundancy, some numbers that didn't get converted, and possibly some incoherent thinking. I've cleaned it up.

    I've lowered an L2 1/day to 4 points. While a lot of games may skip the first two levels, racial balance is never more important than in the early levels. As you progress they contribute an ever shrinking fraction of your total power. So I'm more concerned about a point score that would be OP at level 1 than one than would lead to an underpowered race at higher levels.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    The Detect balance spreadsheet has received many additions and improvements. Most notably the volo non-monsterous races.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Detect Balance: an Improved Scale for Measuring 5e Races.

    This is an awesome tool. It helps a lot to balance classes, also. You put a lot of thought behind it. And it isn't only a "combat balance" chart.

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