Homebrew QB's Monstrous Races
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  1. #1

    QB's Monstrous Races

    For those of you who remember me from before the big server crash; I lost pretty much everything when the forum went down. If you have any of my stuff saved and it looks different to the stuff I'm posting here, please, bring it up and call me out on it; if nothing else just the fact that you cared enough to keep my work is gratifying.

    For those of you to whom this topic is new... my name is QuietBrowser, and I love D&D's racial diversity. Throughout the editions and the game's many, many settings, D&D has produced a vast array of races, and some of those races have been very, very exotic. I partcularly enjoy the more exotic and magical of races, because I'm not only a big fan of homebrewing my own worlds (which means that having more options to build the base cultures from than the cookie-cutter human/elf/dwarf/halfling/gnome/half-breed options), but also a lover of the more... cosmopolitan high fantasy types of setting, for lack of a better word. Games like Spelljammer and Planescape, where part of the sheer difference is how many different "alien" races you can see rubbing shoulders together.

    Plus, let's face it, the monstrous humanoids and sapient monsters have always been some of the most alluring of racial options in editions past. The Complete Book of Humanoids and Savage Species were both written for a reason, after all.

    So, with 5e's sheer ease for writing races and making them balanced, I've been inspired to try and draft more and more racial options, from new subraces based on past editions, to complete races.

    As I initially couldn't post the googledoc containing all my races due to having only just reappeared on these forums, so I figured I'd go through and post each race individually; make the posts easier to find and reference.

    For those who want the GDoc link for whatever reason, see here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...pO3kThS4/edit#

    Folks will notice that the Aranea and the Mul contain full-fledged racial write-ups, but the rest of the races focus on purely crunchy material. This is because, when I started out, I figured both that few people would remember the lore for Aranea, who haven't been a PC race since AD&D's Red Steel sub-setting for Mystara, and that Mul warranted a more "setting neutral" writeup, since one of the best things 4e did for them was giving options for using half-dwarves on settings that weren't Dark Sun.

    However, I'm contemplating whether or not I should start giving the other races that I've written a similar treatment. What do folks think?
    Last edited by QuietBrowser; Monday, 26th September, 2016 at 07:07 PM. Reason: Tried to correct the prefix to being Homebrew, and added GDoc link.
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  2. #2
    First things first, when I showcased my creations on 4chan, I received the following feedback as to flaws I need to generally address:

    The racial feats seem to be near-universally overpowered. I was trying to emulate the example of Deep Magic for Svirfneblin, but I definitely want to discuss scaling them back or otherwise tweaking them to make them balanced.

    Many of the races are either underpowered, bland, or both. Specific complaints that they could use more "fluffy" racial features and less reliance on free Proficiencies were also made. In case I haven't said it yet, I'm here because I really want to make these races fun, flavorful and balanced, so discussing how to tweak a race is always on the table, okay?

    With that in mind, I present to you the complete index of my crafted races thus far, because this damn topic is going to be plenty huge and so having a way to more reasily find & reference stuff is always a good thing, right?




    Because I'll probably turn this post into an index when I can make links again, I figure I might as well say here that I've still got races I'm planning on working on, and I could really use folks' help to pull them off. Spellscales, Oni and the "Hengeyokai" of Tanuki, Bakeneko, Mujina, Itachi and Kawauso are particularly pressing on me for inspiration.

    • Pterran
    • Centaur
    • Fey'ri
    • Rogue Modron
    • Hamadryad
    • Satyr
    • Huldra
    • Dust Genasi
    • Rain Genasi
    • Magma Genasi
    • Blight Genasi
    • Smoke Genasi
    • Tanuki
    • Bakeneko
    • Mujina
    • Itachi
    • Kawauso
    • Oni
    • Tengu
    • Spellscale
    Last edited by QuietBrowser; Sunday, 9th October, 2016 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Turned it into an index.

  3. #3
    Mul

    The ability of humans to crossbreed with other humanoid races is well-know; even if they are typically rare, few are completely oblivious to the existence of half-elves and half-orcs. But these are not the only example of humanity's diverse progeny. The Mulzhennedar, the Strong, are born from the union between human and dwarf, creating a race famed for its strength and stamina. All too often born under the lash of tyrants, muls are an uncommon race often possessed of a deep, gnawing loathing of themselves or their origins. Hard and driven by nature, they are natural pragmatists, and their tendency towards dark origins gives them both a natural calling to roam the land and a layer of callous caution that further alienates them from society.


    Strength Through Blood
    In the mul's form, one can see the best traits of both human and dwarf come together. A mul combines the stature, agility and mental flexibility of humanity with the strength, physical resilience and mental endurance of dwarfdom.

    Muls are invariably powerfully built; averaging between five feet eight inches and six feet four inches in height, they invariably sport broad shoulders, narrow waists, powerful thighs and thick arms. Both sexes tend to sport rippling muscles, though males tend to be more heavy-set than females. Their general bodily configuration is human, rather than the short and stocky frame of dwarves, but their dwarf blood shows in their faces; muls have strong, stern features, and small, swept-back ears that come to subtle points, like a dwarf.

    Distinctly unlike dwarves, though, muls tend to be completely hairless; though a small minority do sport darkly colored hair on their head, which is typically worn in a topknot, no mul ever grows facial or even body hair. Their complexion and eye color is as varied as that of their human parents, though muls tend towards copper and deep bronze skin-tones, and many have eyes of a startling honey-gold or green-gold color.


    Escaping The Tyrant's Lash
    Whilst half-elves may come from many origins, muls are not so lucky. Though humans and dwarves are rarely at open war with each other, dwarven culture is strongly traditional and conservative, meaning the kinds of interspecies dalliances that are accepted amongst elves are all but unheard of amongst dwarves. That does not mean that some muls aren't lucky enough to trace their descent back to a sincere union of love, just that these are a rarity.

    Muls are most frequently brought about at the behest of cruel and tyrannical figures. Whilst mad sages performing perverse crossbreeding experiments have been the source of some muls, the majority trace their ancestry to kingdoms ruled by brutal figures who saw a useful resource to cultivate from the union of human and dwarf. Red dragons, the more tyrannical gold dragons, and drow elves are the beings most likely to see the creation of muls as a worthwhile pursuit, having the most use for their strength and durability.

    Muls at large in the world, then, are typically escaped slaves from these places, or the descendants of muls fortunate enough to have escaped in the past. There are few, if any, regions that muls can call their homeland, and many are not even aware muls exist.


    Vengeful Outcasts
    Muls have few allies they can turn to as a race. Most dwarf clans will not accept them, ashamed of what they represent, and some of the most traditionalist actively denigrate their half-human kin as abominations that must be destroyed. And humans, in the eyes of many muls, are too eager to exploit them as their creators did.

    First-generation muls, at least those who escaped from slavery, tend to be bitter, violent misanthropes, or else suspicious and grasping; trust and friendship do not come easily to these scarred souls. Even those born to freedom, or fortunate enough to claim a happier lineage, tend to be sullen, self-centered or suspicious, unless they had truly miraculous origins. Still, muls do understand the concept of strength in numbers and forging alliances, and so they will work with others without a qualm. And once a mul's loyalty is won, it is unshakeable.

    A deep and abiding loathing for authority in general and tyranny in particular is perhaps the most notorious aspect of mul culture - such as it is. They tore themselves from slavery, and will sooner die fighting than go meekly back to it. Slavers are amongst the most hated foes of muls, and many will kill a slaver on sight even if it costs them their life to do so. This further breeds alienation from their dwarven kin, as many slave-bred muls see the dwarven reverence for traditional as little better than tyranny wearing a pretty face.

    Stats:
    Ability Score Modifier: +2 Constitution, +1 Strength
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Vision: Normal
    Tireless: A mul ignores the first level of Exhaustion it suffers, and regains two levels of Exhaustion when it completes a long rest.
    Limitless Endurance: A mul increases its hit point maximum by 1 point and further increases it by +1 point each time it gains a level.
    Dwarven Vitality: A mul has Advantage on saving throws against Poison and Resistance to Poison damage.

  4. #4
    Aranea

    One of the more unusual races to be found throughout the Material Plane, aranea are truly unique. Once base vermin, these eight-legged mystics have risen themselves up from the murky shadows and now walk amongst the other races. Although how it is that giant spiders came to possess such intellectual and arcane fortuity is a mystery, perhaps even to them, it is of little concern to these arachnid therianthropes.


    Blurred Lines of Race
    Aranea are a race that belongs to the category sages call "therianthropes"; sapient beasts with the innate mystical ability to assume both a singular humanoid form and a half-man, half-beast hybrid form in addition to their animalistic base form. Like common lycanthropes, aranea have only one single form in each category, making each aranea its own unique individual, no matter the form it takes.

    In their beast form, aranea appear as giant spiders, at a casual glance. From the tip of the abdomen to the front of the thorax, a typical aranea averages at four feet long and two feet wide, carried by eight legs that reach a span of about four feet from tip to socket. A more careful observer can spot the distinctive traits that mark an aranea as no mere invertebrate; the most obvious is the pair of two-foot-long arms that stretch from the front of the thorax, roughly where a male giant spider would sport pedipalps. These limbs are armored in chitin and sport small, dainty hands with four delicate, many-jointed fingers and a similar jointed opposable thumb on each hand. More subtle clues are the presence of a functioning humanoid set of jaws behind the aranea's mandibles, enabling them to chew their food and speak like humanoids, the distinctly human-like appearance of their four primary eyes, and the large thorax-mounted lump that signifies the presence of the aranea's brain.

    Each aranea has a singular humanoid form, which it develops a few weeks after birth. Theoretically, any humanoid or monstrous humanoid with a natural height range of five to seven feet could be an aranea's true form. In practice, most araneas resemble humans or, more rarely, elves, half-elves, muls and dwarves, in decreasing order of likelihood. Coloration is usually based on the dominant coloring for their humanoid race in the region where the aranea is born, although it often mimics a humanoid parent if the aranea has one. A significant minority have a color scheme influenced by that of their spider form.

    The most unique form of all aranea is their "demispider" form, the halfway point between their humanoid and spider forms. This is the most mutable and highly individualistic of all aranea forms, and while basic templates tend to pass down through family lines, araneas can look very different. All demispiders blend humanoid and spider to some degree, though they always sport silk glands, fangs, elongated digits and extra eyes. One aranea may look almost perfectly human, unless one spots the subtle slits in her palms, her elongated canines and fingers, and the singular pair of eyes she hides on her temples. A second may look more like a spider aping a humanoid form; a human's upper torso with two pairs of abnormally long, slender, many-jointed limbs, a matching quartet of lower limbs, and a small spider's abdomen forming its rear. And a third may resemble a drider, with a many-eyed, fanged, humanoid's torso rising from where the thorax would be of a giant spider.

    Like the spiders they resemble, female aranea are naturally larger than the males, typically averaging two to four inches in height and similarly proportionate. This has little practical effect in day to day life; aranea are natural magocrats, and consider gender-based policies pointless.

    Despite their arachnid base, aranea give birth to live offspring, another stark reminder of how very humanoid the race truly is.


    Warm-Blooded Spiders
    Though their forms can be alarming to some, aranea are not an evil race. They are cool-tempered and scholarly by nature; secrecy comes easily to them, in part because of how fearsome they can be perceived, and it is true that many are calculating and even cold. But this is an attitude that stems mostly from wariness towards outsiders, as aranea are rarely accepted openly anywhere other than in the most cosmopolitan of regions.

    Amongst each other, or around those they have learned to trust, aranea are a warm and caring people. They can be competitive, but they are surprisingly affectionate; the love of the spider-folk runs deep, and despite lurid tales otherwise, they are by instinct a monogamous people who form long-lasting romantic partnerships and take great care of their progeny. It is rare that they extend this to the point of courting outside of the race, but it does happen.

    Family is quite important to aranea, and they meticulously document their lineage. Gravitating towards clannish family structures, their personal history books are amongst their most prized possessions, and exile from the family is one of the harshest of punishments.

    Despite this, aranea are not hidebound traditionalists; indeed, they prize innovation and development, and every generation of aranea strives to build upon and surpass the achievements of those that came before. They can be quite competitive in this aspect.

    Magic is the racial obsession of the aranea. It flows in their veins and beats in their hearts, and so mastering its practice is near-universal amongst their kind. Though they do have a practical atitude to its approach, in many ways, aranea can be amongst the world's masters of the arts arcane - something that can fuel a racial superiority complex.

    Despite this, aranea have not evolved past their primal roots. They are still predators, and accept the need to hunt for food as simply part of themselves. Rare indeed is the aranea that doesn't at least occasionally indulge in hunting or trapping its own food, and aranea cuisine is very heavy on meat. Despite this, the consumption of sapient races is one of their deepest taboos and strictly punished by aranea.


    The Kingdoms of Spiders
    Driven by their instincts, aranea who do not simply integrate into the societies of others form their own communities in forests or cliffsides. With their inherent ability to climb any surface, aranea often construct their homes on sheer rock faces or in the tops of trees, forming settlements that are as much vertical as they are horizontal.

    Larger aranea settlements are constructed more along the lines of humanoid villages, unique architecture aside. These aranea live more civilized lives; constructing dedicated homes and other buildings, fashioning decorations, and generally trying to live a more modern life. Such settlements are governed through a mixture of magocratic and meritocratic principles; though skill in magic is hugely important, it does take a step back in comparison to knowing how to lead the community through the trials any civilization faces. Aranea from such communities typically think of their demispider aspect as their "true form", spending the majority of their time in that form and adopting spider or humanoid form only when practicality demands it.

    Smaller aranea settlements typically consist of a lone hermit or a singular aranea family. These spider-folk adopt a more primal approach to life, focusing themselves only on the basic needs and on mastering the esoteric arts of magic. These aranea construct little, usually no more than a place to stand in as a study or laboratory, and take shelter in natural cracks or caves instead of bothering themselves with the work of crafting humanoid-style homes. These aranea think of their spider aspect as their "true form"; though they will take demispider form when necessary, they spend the majority of their time as spiders, and assume humanoid form only when absolutely necessary and with no small reluctance.


    The Scholar's Hunger
    Aranea who take up the adventurer's lifestyle are typically driven by the hunger for magic; either to hone their own skills and master new theories of their own devising, or to recover ancient magical lore from ruins and lost places. Some adventure to try and promote their people, to spread a benevolent reputation that will allow aranea to walk amongst humanoids with greater acceptance. Others adventure on behalf of their clans or settlements, be it to secure something desperately needed or to avenge them. And others just seek to explore for the sheer novelty of it, driven to see the world behind the hidden study-dens of their people.

    Traditionally, aranea adventurers focus on arcane skills. Wizard is the most iconic class for an aranea, followed by "arcane slants" on other classes; Eldritch Knight fighters, or Arcane Trickster rogues. Clerical aranea are rare, but usually worship deities of magic or illusion, favoring the Arcana and Trickster domains. Sorcerers are less common than wizards, but still a fairly common choice; most aranea sorcerers are fairly focused on a specific aspect of magic, with sorcerous origins such as Storm, Shadow or Favored Soul dramatically outweighing the likes of Wild Magic or Draconic Bloodline. Bards are a distinct rarity - aranea traditionally look down on bards as mere "dabblers" - and warlocks almost unheard of. Druids and paladins are exceptionally rare, particularly the former, given that aranea tend to believe in subjugating nature rather than living in harmony with it. Though they do not have a particular adeptness for it, aranea monks are surprisingly common, and they tend to favor more mystical disciplines such as Shadow or Four Elements.


    Sidebar: No Shapeshifting?
    Although aranea in editions past were heavily defined by their ability to assume human, spider and demispider forms, the development of rules for 5th edition has made this aspect impractical at best. In their original appearance in Mystara, their need for a human form was mostly mandated by their specific fluff for that setting, which demonized them as evil monsters; even then, it was presumed they would generally spend all of their time in demispider form by handily passing it off as the effect of Red Steel.

    In 5th edition, there's just no real way to make the transformation even between spider-form and demispider form work. It comes off as either too weak to be worthwhile, or it comes off as overpowered. So, the race is written around the presumption of focusing on the demispider form, which is literally the best of both worlds.

    For those who wish to add that element back in, add the following racial trait to the Aranea:
    Spider-Shifter: You are a natural shapechanger, capable of switching between three forms; that of a giant spider, that of a humanoid, or your true "hybrid" form. You have only a single humanoid form, chosen at character creation from the list of Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Mul and Dwarf; you cannot assume a different humanoid form. Like a werewolf, your three forms are all you have. Switching between forms requires an action to complete. Assuming the form of a Giant Spider follows the rules for Wild Shaping (see Druid, PHB pg 67), with the exception that you can still talk and cast spells whilst in spider form. In your humanoid form, you lose access to your Spider Climb, Venomous Bite and Fling Webbing traits, but can completely pass as a member of your chosen humanoid race; no Wisdom (Perception) test can unveil your species identity, and magical items relating to your humanoid race will treat you as such. However, in this form, magical items specifically keying off of shapechangers will react to you as such.


    Stats:
    Ability Score Increase: +2 Intelligence, +1 Charisma
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Darkvision
    Arcane Birthright: You know the Prestidigitation cantrip and 1 other cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list. Intelligence is your casting ability score when using these cantrips
    Spider Climb: You have a Climb speed of 30 feet and do not need to make an ability check to climb difficult surfaces, including upside down underneath ledges or along a ceiling.
    Venomous Bite: As an action you may make a melee attack against an adjacent target. On a hit, you deal 1d8 poison damage. This damage increases by 1d8 at levels 5 (2d8), 11 (3d8), and 17 (4d8). You have Advantage when delivering a Venomous Bite to a target that is grappled or restrained.
    Fling Webbing: As an action you may make a ranged attack with a range of 30/60ft. On a hit, the target is Restrained until it passes a Strength check (DC 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Constitution modifier). Your webbing can be attacked as an object by someone seeking to cut through it, in which case it has AC 10, HP 5 + your level, vulnerability to fire, and immunity to bludgeoning, poison and psychic. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.



    Sidebar: Aranea Racial Feats

    Arachnid Inheritance
    Prerequisite: Aranea

    You are particularly close to your spidery ancestry, enhancing your proficiency with their gifts.


    • Fling Webbing can be used twice per sort or long rest.

    • Venomous Bite inflicts the Poisoned condition on a target until the end of your next turn.

    • Creatures restrained by your Fling Webbing ability suffer Disadvantage on Strength checks made to break free.



    Mystic Weaver
    Prerequisite: Aranea

    The arts of weaving magic and silk are not so dissimilar to you, allowing you to combine both skills.



    • If you are not a member of a spell-casting class, you gain a 1st level spell slot. This spell slot can be used to cast Web without any material components.

    • If you are a member of a spell-casting class, you add Web to your list of spells known, even if it is not normally allowed to your class. You are always considered to have Web prepared, gain an extra 1st level spell slot that can only be used to cast Web, and do not require material components when casting Web.

    • Creatures caught in a Web spell cast by you suffer Disadvantage on Strength checks made to break free.




    Sidebar: Aranea Variants
    Although the aranea as they already are is a fairly solid archetype, there are alternative origins one could give the race.

    For one example, one could make aranea the results of an ancient sect of druids who sought to emulate spiders, eventually attain a spiritual and physical bond with them so strong that they managed to become a new hybrid between the two. In essence, similar to the Dragon Magazine-presented origin for Ettercaps, only without devolving into hideous insanity. For these "druid-spiders", change the ability score modifier to +2 Wisdom and +1 Intelligence, and replace the Wizard cantrips with Druidcraft and 1 Druid cantrip of your choice.

    For a second example, aranea could be a race of werespiders who originated amongst the drow. They could be an accepted part of drow culture, outsiders, or even outright rebels. For this variant, one would simply replace Darkvision with Superior Darkvision and Sunlight Sensitivity, and replace Arcane Birthright with Drow Magic.

  5. #5
    Dwarven Subrace: The Forgeborn

    The Forgeborn are an alternate dwarven racial type created in 4e edition's Dragon Magazine #383, building on the Points of Light origin for dwarves as former slaves of the elemental titans. Forgeborn were dwarves who didn't get away in time to avoid partially changing into elemental beings, starting down the road that created the Azers, Galeb Duhr and Eisk Jaat (ice elemental dwarves). They received a small amount (2 + character level, off the top of my head) of Resistance to Acid, Cold, Fire and Lightning damage, and could inflict bonus "elemental" damage of their choice with a melee strike once per encounter. They had a racial paragon path that mostly turned them into a berserk walking inferno, and racial feats that pumped up their elemental powers.

    I want to follow i n 4e's steps by giving racial feats to further augment their elemental nature, but I'm kind of drawing blanks on what'd be fitting. For example, Urdunnir (named for an actual race of rock elementally powered dwarves in AD&D FR) giving them Earth Glide and the Mold Earth cantrip as a spell-like ability, or Eisk Jaat giving them ice powers, or Stormheart giving the thunder & lightning abilities.

    Ability Score Increase: None. Forgeborn do not gain any additional modifiers to ability scores beyond the +2 Constitution for being Dwarves.
    Hewn from Earth: A Forgeborn Dwarf can use a reaction to taking damage to roll a D12 and subtract an amount of damage from the triggering roll equal to the result + the Forgeborn's Constitution modifier. Once this trait has been used, it cannot be used again until the character has taken a short rest or a long rest.
    Forged in Flame: A Forgeborn Dwarf has Resistance to Fire.
    Tempered with Frost: A Forgeborn Dwarf is naturally acclimatized to cold temperatures, as described in Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.
    Last edited by QuietBrowser; Monday, 26th September, 2016 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Clearing up the editing mess.

  6. #6
    Gnoll

    We all know the gnoll. Despite traditionally being a demonically tainted race (worshippers of a demon prince by default in AD&D and 3e, his direct creations in 4e and 5e), that still never stopped them from being playable; AD&D had them in the Complete Book of Humanoids, 3e had them in several places, including FR's Unapproachable East and Races of the Wild, and 4th edition had Dragon Magazine #367, which stated that the gnolls would likely always be primal creatures driven by their hyena basis, but this did not have to make them universally evil; they could choose to walk a different path. So, I've always liked reworking them, in much the same way that Warcraft has reworked the Orc from an always chaotic evil raider.

    Ability Score Modifier:
    +2 Constitution
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Vision: Darkvision
    Filth-Eater's Gullet: A gnoll has Resistance to Poison and Advantage on Constitution checks against Disease.
    Ripping Jaws: A gnoll can choose to Bite as an Unarmed Strike. Doing so causes its attack to inflict 1d4 Piercing damage as a basis.
    Ghostly Whispers: A gnoll has Advantage on any check made to mimic the voice of another being, such as a bluff check against a target who can’t see the gnoll to convince them that the gnoll is someone else.
    Subrace: Choose between the Butcher’s Brood, Hyena’s Soul or Bouda subraces to determine the rest of your racial traits.

    Butcher’s Brood Gnoll

    Ability Score Increase: +1 Strength
    Rampage: When a Butcher’s Brood Gnoll reduces a creature to 0 hit points on its turn with a melee attack, it can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make a bite attack.
    Blood Frenzy: Once per turn, a Butcher’s Brood Gnoll which has taken damage from an enemy attack can use its Reaction to deliver a bite attack to an enemy in reach.

    Hyena’s Soul Gnoll

    Ability Score Increase: +1 Wisdom
    Far-Roamer: A Hyena’s Soul Gnoll increases its base movement speed to 35 feet.
    Bred to Hunt: A Hyena’s Soul Gnoll has Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made to follow a trail or discover someone hiding.

    Bouda

    Ability Score Increase: +1 Charisma
    Veil of Humanity: A Bouda has Advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to pass itself off as a member of another race.
    Walker Between: A Bouda has Resistance to Necrotic damage.
    XP doctorbadwolf gave XP for this post

  7. #7
    Lamia


    Lamias, in most media outside of D&D, are portrayed as a unique race of serpent-folk; human from the waist up, and a giant snake from the waist down, a form of reptilian taur. D&D has had such creatures, too, as the oft-forgotten "noble" Lamia standing above the ubiquitous lioness-taur it uses. I've always liked the serpentine lamia, and I liked the challenge of trying to balance a race that has a body-structure different from the standard bipedal outline, so I tried my hand at this, inspired by the fact that there's a Pathfinder writeup for similar creatures in the form of the "Lamia Commoner". I am particularly worried about the balance on this one.

    Ability Score Increase: +2 Charisma, +1 Strength
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Vision: Darkvision
    Snake Body: A lamia has a Climb Speed of 20 feet and a Swim speed of 30 feet. A lamia can Crawl at its normal speed. A lamia cannot use magical items based on footwear, such as Boots of Elvenkind.
    Crushing Coils: A lamia may attempt to grapple a creature that is no more than two sizes larger than itself, and has Advantage on the Strength (Athletics) check to successfully grapple the target.

  8. #8
    Naga

    With a human head on a giant snake's body, the naga is essentially the Lamia turned up a notch or two, and was my private attempt to really push myself in terms of making things balanced. I really want opinions on this one in order to make it better.


    Ability Score Increase: +1 Charisma
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Vision: Darkvision
    Limbless Horror: A naga's unique body shape poses great difficulty in using items designed for humanoids. Armor must be custom fitted, doubling its cost. A naga can only wear magical items on its head, neck and body, though at a DM's discretion it can also wear 1 magical ring on the tip of its tail.
    Prehensile Tail: A naga can use its tail as a hand for all relevant purposes - taking actions, wielding a single-handed weapon, using an item, performing somatic components, etc.
    Serpentine Mobility: A naga has a Climb speed of 20 feet and a Swim speed of 20 feet.
    Poisonous Bite: A naga is never unarmed. A naga is proficient with its bite, which is a melee weapon that deals 1d4 piercing damage. On a hit, the target must succeed on a Constitution check (DC 8 + Naga's Con modifier + Proficiency Bonus), or be poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of it's turns, ending the effect on a success.
    Subrace: Choose between the Sagacious or Savage Naga subraces.

    Sagacious Naga

    Ability Score Increase: +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom
    Alluring Gaze: A Sagacious Naga possesses a gaze attack that it can direct against a single target within 30 feet. The targeted creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + Naga's Cha modifier + Proficiency) against this ability or be charmed up to one minute or until the naga or one of its allies makes a hostile move against it. When the effect ends, the target knows it was charmed. This ability can't be used again until the Naga finishes a long rest.
    Mystical Birthright: A Sagacious Naga can cast the Prestidigitation cantrip and 1 other Wizard or Clerical cantrip of its choice. It may choose to use either Wisdom or Intelligence as its casting ability for spells cast with this trait.

    Savage Naga

    Ability Score Increase: +2 Constitution
    Crushing Coils: A Savage Naga may attempt to grapple a creature that is no more than two sizes larger than itself, and can attempt to deliver a grapple if it is within at least 10 feet of the target.
    Lethal Venom: A Savage Naga's bite attack also inflicts Poison damage equal to 1d4 plus its Constitution modifier. This damage increases to 1d6 + Con mod at 3rd level and to 1d8 + Con mod at 5th level.

  9. #9
    This race has a particular history which I need to elaborate upon first. The Caliban is a creation of White Wolf's rendition of the Ravenloft campaign setting for 3e, which used the stats of the half-orc but reskinned them as a race of gothic mutants; unfortunates deformed in the womb by lingering magical or alchemical taint, twisted experiments, curses, or the sins of their parents. Flavorful, but really not very interesting. On the Fraternity of Shadows website, a fansite dedicated to Ravenloft material, in their yearly netbook "Quoth the Raven", the 8th issue contained an article called "Brutes and Banshees" by one Uri "Shadowking" Geller, which altered the Caliban by creating five specific, commonly seen sub-types of Caliban and creating an extensive list of deformities that gave both benefits and drawbacks. I deeply loved this update to the race, and the below is my attempt to update Shadowking's work to the edition I see as superior to 3rd edition.

    I'd honestly like to try and do a more "in spirit" update and create a list of optional racial traits, so you can more effectively "build your own" caliban as Brutes & Banshees supported, but I'd need a lot of help with that.

    Caliban

    Human offspring tainted in the womb by dark forces or eldritch taint may be born as unearthly mutants, collectively known as “calibans”. Though many unique mutations or subspecies exist, five particular strains are especially endemic; the eerily lovely Banshees, the manimals known simply as Beasts, hulking orc or ogre-like Brutes, the crypt-crawling rapacious horrors called Cannibals, and the aptly named Witchbreed, with their innate affinity for dark magic. Calibans are most ubiquitous to the Demiplane of Dread.

    Caliban Racial Core:

    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Darkvision 60 feet
    Freakish Horror: A Caliban automatically has Proficiency in Charisma (Intimidation) checks.
    Unnatural Blood: A Caliban belongs to one of the five subraces; Banshee, Bestial, Brute, Cannibal or Witchspawn. Acquire the additional abilities determined by one subrace.

    Banshee Subrace:

    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Charisma, +1 Wisdom
    Cold Blooded: Existing with the chill in the grave racing through their blood, Banshees are hardly touched by mundane cold. A Banshee Caliban has Resistance to Cold.
    Deathly Pallor. You have disadvantage on saving throws to resist diseases.
    Ghostly Keening. As an action, you can cause each creature in a 10-foot radius sphere originating from you to make a Wisdom saving throw. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 1d6 psychic damage and 1d6 thunder damage on a failed save and are frightened by you until the end of your next turn. On a successful save, a creature takes half as much damage and is not frightened. The psychic and thunder damage increases to 2d6 at 6th level, 3d6 at 11th level, and 4d6 at 16th level. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

    Bestial Subrace:

    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Wisdom, +1 Constitution
    Loping Fiend. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.
    Natural Weapon Affinity. Choose either the piercing or slashing damage type. This choice determines the damage type associated with your Feral Armaments and Thick Hide.
    Feral Armaments. When you make an unarmed strike, you may choose to deal either bludgeoning damage or your Natural Weapon Affinity damage type.
    Thick Hide. You have resistance to your Natural Weapon Affinity damage type from nonmagical weapon attacks.

    Brute Subrace:

    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Strength, +1 Constitution
    Hulking Monster. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift. You count your Strength as +2 higher for dealing damage with Unarmed Strikes.
    Savage Grapple. When you successfully grapple an opponent, you can deal damage as though you had made an unarmed strike. Additionally, if you begin your turn grappling an opponent, you have advantage on rolls to attack your grappled opponent with an unarmed strike.

    Cannibal Subrace:

    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +1 Constitution
    Eater of Vile Things: Cannibals possess Resistance (Poison) and are immune to non-magical diseases.
    It Will Not Die: A Cannibal passes Death Saving Throws on a 5 or higher, instead of a 10 or higher. It also has Advantage on saving throws made to avoid being rendered Unconscious.
    Graveworm: Cannibals possess a Climb speed of 20 feet, can Squeeze through spaces sized for a creature two size categories smaller than they are, suffer no penalties for squeezing through a space sized for a creature one size category smaller than they are, and may crawl at their normal speed.

    Witchspawn Subrace:

    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom
    Hexcrafter: A Witchspawn knows three spells of its choice taken from the Warlock spell list. A cantrip at first level, a 1st level spell at third level, and a 2nd level spell at fifth level. A Witchspawn's racial spells use Intelligence as a casting trait and cast at their default level. A witchspawn's racial cantrip may be used at will. Its racial 1st and 2nd level spells may each be cast once per long rest.
    Blood Magic: A Witchspawn may sacrifice hit dice when casting a spell through its Hexcrafter trait to increase its effectiveness as if the witchspawn had increased the spell's slot. Each hit dice sacrificed increases the effective spell slot of the Hexcrafter spell by 1 level.
    XP BrynnMawr347 gave XP for this post

  10. #10
    Kitsune

    What is there to say about the Kitsune, the most iconic of the hengeyokai - shapeshifting animal spirit - races? I did want to follow in Pathfinder's steps by giving them the ability to gain more tails and so more magic, but I don't want to go the full "feat tax" route that they did. 5e wouldn't really support giving up eight feats for eight more tails, would it?
    Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Charisma, +1 Intelligence
    Size: Medium
    Speed: 30 feet
    Vision: Darkvision
    Foxfire: You know the Friends and Dancing Lights cantrips, which you can cast with Charisma. At 3rd level, you can cast Firebolt with this trait as a 1st level spell once per long rest, again using Charisma as your casting ability score.
    Trickster’s Guile: You have Advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.

    Racial Feat: Fox Magic

    Some kitsune are more magical than others. Through deliberate meditation or just the whims of fate, you are amongst those kitsune whose magical potency is naturally greater.
    Prerequisite: Kitsune
    Effect: You gain the following racial spell-like abilities at the indicated character level. Each spell granted by this feat can be used once per long rest, does not require material components, and uses Charisma as its casting ability score. Whenever you gain a new spell-like ability because of this feat, you also grow an extra tail.

    • At 3rd level, you gain the ability to cast Charm Person as a 1st level spell
    • At 4th level, you gain the ability to cast Disguise Self.
    • At 5th level, you gain the ability to cast Invisibility as a 2nd level spell.
    • At 6th level, you gain the ability to cast Suggestion as a 2nd level spell.
    • At 7th level, you gain the ability to cast Hypnotic Pattern as a 3rd level spell.
    • At 8th level, you gain the ability to cast Major Image as a 3rd level spell.
    • At 9th level, you gain the ability to cast Hallucinatory Terrain as a 4th level spell.
    • At 10th level, you gain the ability to cast Mordenkainen's Private Sanctum as a 4th level spell.

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