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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    thoroughlyS's Avatar

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    Default Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation



    The Musicus scale for homebrew races has existed since the infancy of 5e, and has been immensely helpful to the community. However, its lack of granularity and sparse explanation of trait scores cause it to be imprecise. Detect Balance refines the units to be more granular, but similarly lacks effective explanation of traits. In some cases it is very unclear why certain features have higher scores than others.
    This guide is designed to be an expansion on the foundations originally laid by Musicus and further refined by Eleazzaar, SwordMeow, and Zagorath. I reevaluated the full list of features and extrapolated more values to aid new homebrewers. I also made careful documentation of my thoughts and processes to provide greater insight into the scores.
    Balancing races is still a combination of art and science—no system of numbers will tell the whole story.



    The document also includes my personal houserules for most of the official races, which attempt to make every race have some kind of niche or general viability. Please leave any comments or critiques of the system or my fixes.
    Last edited by thoroughlyS; 2019-03-18 at 06:14 PM.
    Goblin in the Playground

    Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation

    I have recently returned to this spreadsheet and included all currently released races, subraces, and variants except for those introduced in a Magic: the Gathering themed supplement, and tiefling variants which only change the ASI and spells (as they would receive the same score as the Asmodeus tiefling).

    I would really appreciate any feedback on the scores presented, especially if you believe I have over or undervalued a trait.
    Last edited by thoroughlyS; 2021-01-20 at 02:05 AM.
    Goblin in the Playground

    Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation

    Interesting resource.

    Glancing through, I'm just gonna comment on the PHB classes, because time and whatnot.

    Dragonborn seems about right. I'd personally drop Breath Weapon down to 6 instead of 7 because it's functionally worse than the comparative first level spells until level 5 and by the time it gets better the damage scaling makes it pretty much a non-entity on the character sheet. Part of why most of the races that grant spells get utility stuff that will be situationally useful throughout your adventuring career rather than damage that gets quickly outscaled. But that's a nitpick.

    Dwarves, seems mostly good. Though on the Duergar section I question the uniformity of advantage on saves against a single school of magic. If something gave advantage on all saves from the Evocation school that's a benefit on a lot of common and powerful spells. While if someone gets Advantage on saves from the Illusion school as the duergar get, well that's I think 8 or 9 spells. Some of them pretty bad.

    Gnomes, huh. I can see why Minor Illusion is only worth 2 points, because it's a cantrip. But it's such a useful cantrip it makes me think it should be worth more. But that's beyond the scope of a simple guideline and would get bogged down in trying to figure out which spell is worth what on an individual level which would be ridiculous to ask of anyone.

    Personally think you're undervaluing the Ghostwise Halfling's Silent Speech and overvaluing Lightfoot Halfling's Naturally Stealthy. Being able to silently coordinate, even if it's just the one person coordinating is an always useful tool provided the player actually remembers to use it.

    Meanwhile Naturally Stealthy looks really good on paper. But in practice isn't all that great. It's mostly useful as a Ranged Rogue, hiding behind an ally and shooting every turn for sneak attack. But I just don't think it's that hard to get sneak attack every round regardless. Especially now with Tasha's and Steady Aim in place.

    If you're not a ranged Rogue, then it's ability to actually do things is kinda limited. In most cases where you're stealthing into things there is not going to be a line of medium sized creatures for you to hide behind. If you're trying to hide from a group of enemies, well, you can't hide from the individual you are hiding behind. Which if it's an enemy will be the one you're trying to gain Advantage on your attacks anyway.

    I also suspect you're undervaluing Lucky. It's inconsistent, certainly, but a 1 in 20 chance to reroll any d20 roll is going to come up a lot the longer the campaign goes. And the numbers get even better with Advantage and Disadvantage in the mix. But I'm willing to guess my understanding of its power comes more from confirmation bias, and hard numbers on how often you roll a 1 per campaign + how often the reroll matters may be hard to come by.

    So yeah, overall this looks really interesting, and I'll probably be using it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation

    I'm a bit confused as to why Eladrin are rated so much more highly than Shadar-Kai.

    I would also like to see a version of these rankings which account for Tasha's new character creation rules.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I'm a bit confused as to why Eladrin are rated so much more highly than Shadar-Kai.

    I would also like to see a version of these rankings which account for Tasha's new character creation rules.
    Remove all nonsynergistic racial penalties related to ASIs (except for standard Human). Increase the Integer Value of everything that gets a +2 ASI from 8 to 10-ish and +1 ASI to 5.

    So as an example Mountain Dwarf is currently 30. But it gets 2 +2 ASIs which become 20 points instead of 16 points. And they lose the nonsynergy penalty for an additional +3. So it becomes a 37 pointer.

    That should give you a base line for most of them. Though I might make an argument that a +2 to any ability score is worth more than just 2 more points than +2 to a single ability score. But that's up for debate.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Detect Greater Balance – A Critical Review of Homebrew Race Creation

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I'm a bit confused as to why Eladrin are rated so much more highly than Shadar-Kai.
    Fey Step is on a short rest, and Blessing of the Raven Queen is on a long rest. And a nonspell, componentless, misty step is worth a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I would also like to see a version of these rankings which account for Tasha's new character creation rules.
    Dienekes gets the most important part, but also all proficiencies are now "of choice". Although, I think knocking 1 point off of those races which already had proficiencies of choice makes more sense, as that versatility is the new normal.
    Goblin in the Playground

    Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.

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