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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Huarahi

    Default Four armed race: Broken or not?

    As the title expresses, would giving a race 4 arms be considered broken? I'd imagine they'd work somewhat similarly to the Simic Hybrid's extra limbs, with the exception of being able to use the extra two to attack with melee weapons (still limited by how many attacks your class gives you). I think the idea of having 4 melee weapons drawn at a time is the biggest in-combat adjustment, leading to being capable of throwing 4 weapons in a round (drawing rules would probably still apply as normal), and being able to hold a spellcasting focus in an extra hand while also using a sword and shield is also a nice perk.

    Out of combat, using them for slight of hand checks against people who are used to only keeping an eye on 2 hands can be quite useful and possibly expressed via proficiency in that as a racial trait, but beyond that I'm at a loss to how it could be used to break things (particularly when lined up against races with armor/weapon proficiency and racial spells)
    "There are truly only 2 sources of conflict: Miscommunication, and Intolerance. Of the two, only one is acceptable."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Greywander's Avatar

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    Nov 2017

    Default Re: Four armed race: Broken or not?

    I've designed a race with four arms before, though it's been a while and I would want to rework it before it saw play.

    Perhaps the biggest thing is that they would be able to wield a greatsword or glaive/halberd with a shield, and still have a free hand. Or, you could wield a longbow, rapier, and shield. Heck, you can hold a weapon in just one hand, so there's no reason you couldn't wield a greatsword, longbow, and shield at the same time, you just use your extra hand for either the greatsword or longbow as needed.

    You might think you'd want to wield four weapons at once on such a character, but there isn't really a benefit to doing so unless you add one (which, perhaps, you should). The main advantage is adding a shield to a two handed weapon while keeping a hand free, or wielding a ranged weapon, melee weapon, and shield, all at once.

    I don't think it's game breaking myself. But some people might balk at the idea of adding a shield to a GWF/PAM user.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Four armed race: Broken or not?

    My homebrew 5e Thri-Kreen uses something like the following:

    Four Arms- You have four arms with hands at each end, though your arms are individually weaker than most other humanoids. You require at least two hands to wield all non-light weapons, and heavy weapons require three hands. A versatile weapon requires three hands to benefit from its larger damage die. A shield requires two hands.

    This removes the worse abuses of a four handed race while still allowing for some of the benefits. This Thri-Kreen cannot use a longbow with a shield (as the longbow is heavy and thus requires three hands) but it can use a shortbow and shield just fine. It can use a handcrossbow (which is light) with a shield and still have his fourth hand free to reload it. He could dual-wield shortswords with a shield, but couldn't use the Dual Wielder feat to do so with rapiers.

    As an aside, it's worth noting that shields aren't quite as good at my table: I also use a houserule where shields are damaged by the attack if an attacker misses by 1 or 2. Shields usually have 15 HP and a damage threshold of 5. Most have resistance to piercing damage as well.
    Last edited by Damon_Tor; 2020-04-06 at 01:20 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    London, UK

    Default Re: Four armed race: Broken or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagog View Post
    As the title expresses, would giving a race 4 arms be considered broken? I'd imagine they'd work somewhat similarly to the Simic Hybrid's extra limbs, with the exception of being able to use the extra two to attack with melee weapons (still limited by how many attacks your class gives you). I think the idea of having 4 melee weapons drawn at a time is the biggest in-combat adjustment, leading to being capable of throwing 4 weapons in a round (drawing rules would probably still apply as normal), and being able to hold a spellcasting focus in an extra hand while also using a sword and shield is also a nice perk.

    Out of combat, using them for slight of hand checks against people who are used to only keeping an eye on 2 hands can be quite useful and possibly expressed via proficiency in that as a racial trait, but beyond that I'm at a loss to how it could be used to break things (particularly when lined up against races with armor/weapon proficiency and racial spells)
    This doesn't really help re game mechanics, but if you'd like quite a well thought-through take on how a four-armed fantasy race might choose to fight, this video is worth a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZz06vgKSFE

    EDIT: Also, this video offers a slightly alternative take on the same question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoAy475VqIo
    Last edited by paddyfool; 2020-04-06 at 02:34 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Four armed race: Broken or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by paddyfool View Post
    This doesn't really help re game mechanics, but if you'd like quite a well thought-through take on how a four-armed fantasy race might choose to fight, this video is worth a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZz06vgKSFE

    EDIT: Also, this video offers a slightly alternative take on the same question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoAy475VqIo
    These look interesting! I'm basing them somewhat on John Carter's Green Martians in much of their style and structure, but these definitely help with making them my own!
    "There are truly only 2 sources of conflict: Miscommunication, and Intolerance. Of the two, only one is acceptable."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Breccia's Avatar

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    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Four armed race: Broken or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagog View Post
    As the title expresses, would giving a race 4 arms be considered broken?
    It depends on the rules. The 3rd Ed thri-kreen had four usable arms as a player race, and could attack with all of them. It was part of the reason they had a level adjustment of +2.

    By contrast, a race with four weak arms might still only be able to use two weapons. Splitting a human's Strength four ways instead of two doesn't mean they can use a greatsword in both right hands, for example, nor does standard human Dexterity let them type unrelated text on two different keyboards at the same speed most people type on one. And I can't imagine the logistics of trying to use a shield in your right hand, while also attacking with a longsword in your other right hand.

    The 5E rules for making an offhand attack don't seem all that useful if you have three offhands anyhow, as you get to make one attack.

    Having an extra hand doing nothing but holding a spell focus does sound pretty useful, but unless you want to get into racial variants of spells, most of these guys will still cast spells with two hands like everyone else while the other two don't do much.

    Whether or not four arms is OP is based purely on what rules you give them.

    I know nothing about the race you're trying to create, but I might be tempted to write something like this:

    A) You may function normally with two hands using weapons and/or shields like anyone else, but also hold two other items (such as a lantern and spell focus) without any special penalty for doing so.

    B) When performing a simple, repeated action where extra hands or fingers would be considered an asset (such as sifting through a pile of gravel for a missing sword, or weaving), you may pay extra attention and spend your Bonus Action to perform the task at double speed. Alternatively, you can spend your attention and Bonus Action to do two different simple, repeated actions at the same time, so long as you can physically reach them of course. You can't do this on any task that requires a die roll to succeed. A four-armed painter could probably do the walls green while doing the doorframe white if they're paying attention, but no way are they painting Guernica and the Mona Lisa at the same time.

    C) When trying to use your extra hands to confuse or mislead someone, including Sleight of Hand checks, dedicating all of your hands to the task and spending your Bonus Action for focus gives you Advantage to the roll. If you use the Feint martial maneuver you roll your Superiority die twice and take the larger result.

    D) If you have Extra Attack and choose to attack with your offhand, and are using two or more Light weapons in your off hands, you may choose to attack with two of them, but at -5 to each. If you have Extra Attack II and have three Light weapons in your offhands, you may instead attack with all three at -10 to each.
    D2) There should be a modified version for Monk's Flurry of Blows.

    E) You should definitely get Advantage on Climb checks.

    And that's only if I can be talked off the ledge of "okay, but each arm is half Strength" which would make the rules far more complicated than they'd have any need to be.

    EDIT: A lot of this comes down to hand-eye coordination. It's already a large advantage in D&D, or real life I suppose, to use two hands with equal effectiveness at the same time. Having more arms wouldn't, in and of itself, instantly grant all that. Standard human Dexterity and Intelligence is insufficient, that's why it's a Feat or something. Having four equally-useful arms would be a massive benefit, and one I don't think is warranted.
    Last edited by Breccia; 2020-04-08 at 12:38 AM.

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