I'm looking into making Awakened animals as a race/template. As it stands, Awaken is a great method of making more interactive ranger beasts and caster familiars.

I'm having some issues with figuring out the balance between, say an Awakened Frog versus an Awakened Blood Hawk. One is obviously much stronger than the other.

So far, I've got this:

This is a conversion from monster stat block to PC race.
Prerequisites: Any creature that is a beast or monstrosity.

Ability Scores. You generate your ability scores as typical, gaining bonuses or penalties based on the base creature:
  • The highest ability score grants +2 to its score. If there are tied scores, you may pick which score gets the increase.
  • The second highest ability score grants +1 to its score. If there are tied scores, you may pick which score gets the increase.
  • If there are scores tied for both highest and second highest (for example, if Strength and Constitution are both 17 and Wisdom and Dexterity are both 15), the DM selects the score that receives the +2 bonus (the DM would pick which out of Strength and Constitution from the previous example would receive the bonus).
  • If there is an ability score less than 6 (5 or lower), it receives a -1 penalty to its score. A maximum of two scores (if any) can receive a penalty.

Retained Characteristics: armor class, senses (darkvision), speed (base, fly, climb, swim), skill proficiencies
Lost Characteristics: hit points, condition immunities, blindsense, tremorsense
Lost Traits: flyby
Alignment: your alignment is that of whomever awakened you.
Senses. Your bestial nature gifted you with superior sight in nocturnal darkness. [darkvision]
Awakened. You have two creature types: humanoid and beast. You can be affected by a game effect if it works on either of your creature types.
Traits. Based on your build you have specific adaptations and disadvantages.
  • Hooved.
  • Paws.
  • Fins.
  • Serpentine.

Natural Weapons. You retain your natural weapons, if you have any, with the following modifications.
  • Beak.
  • Bite. You have proficiency with your bite and you can attack with it as a weapon. This is not an unarmed strike for purposes of monk attacks. Your bite deals 1d8 + your Strength modifier piercing damage.
  • Claw. You have proficiency with your claws, and if both your hands are free, you can attack with them as a weapon. Your claws deal 2d6 + your Strength modifier slashing damage.
  • Constrict.
  • Gore. You are proficient with your horns, which are natural melee weapons to you. When you hit with them, you deal 1d6 + your Strength modifier piercing damage.
  • Hooves. Your hooves are natural melee weapons, with which you are proficient. If you hit with a hoof, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
  • Ram.
  • Poison.
  • Pounce.
  • Swallow.
  • Tail.
  • Talons.
  • Tentacles.
  • Tusk.
  • Web.

Speak with Relatives. You can communicate with other creatures of your species.
Language. You can read, write, and speak Common.