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D&D 5E High Fantastic Races. What are the appropriate weaknesses?

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So I was thinking about a new rule for a campaign. Basically TCOE allows players and DMs to customize their races a great deal. However these customization make the races become more samey as the movable parts were the mechanically unique elements of them. Everyone will feel more like a human with a rubber forehead.

So I was thinking. Up the Fantasy a bit.
Everyone gets their racial feats for free at level 1.

Dragonborn get Dragon Fear and Dragon Hide
Dwarves get Dwarven Fortitude and Squat Nimbleness
Elves get Elven Accuracy and the appropriate subrace feat
Gnomes get Squat Nimbleness and Squat Nimbleness
Half Elves get Elven Accuracy and Prodigy
Half Orc get Orcish Fury and Prodigy
Halflings get Second Chance and Squat Nimbleness
Humans get Prodigy twice.
Tielfings get Flames of Phlegethon and Infernal Constitution

But just powering up races feels imbalanced. Not unbalanced but more that you ave to give the good with the bad.

So what to you feels like the appropriate weaknesses for each race that is not just -2 to an ability score that would make the D&D races feel more fantastic?


Should elves have fey vulnerabilities?
Should dwarves have disadvantage to anything not Dwarven?
Should halflings have to roll to not feel the urge to go home and hang out?
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don't think you need to give disadvantages. Just recognize that each player is basically a level or two more powerful than standard.
I'm not adding disadvantage out of balance.
I kow they will be more powerful.

I want to do it to display each race's uniqueness.

Elves take double damege from cold-iron weapons whereas Tieflings take double damage from silver weapons.
 


Grantypants

Explorer
When considering these drawbacks, keep in mind how annoying it would be if the party members overdo it.

Taking your halfling example, if the halfling has to roll not to feel the urge to go home and hang out, what happens when a halfling player fails that roll and decides they're abandoning the adventure and going home? Or maybe you have a different kind of halfling in mind, and the drawback is that they have roll to resist the urge to steal anything they see. Consider all the horror stories on this site about bad Kender players and how they ruin the game for everyone.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
If you want to use Lineage drawbacks then I’d stick to Disavantage mechanics as they add flavour without being a major bummer.

eg
a small tidbit imc is that because Dwarfs are hyperadapted to subterranean life they are always suffering when not underground, however they are able to endure because of their increase fortitude. If you wanted you could do something like “each morning that the Dwarf has slept above ground they make a Con check, if they fail they suffer Disadvantage of Con checks for the day. This does not apply for a Dwarf who returns underground

or
For Halflings for each day they havent had a meal they suffer Disadvantage on one ability check per day until exhaustion sets in etc
 

Dragonborn get Dragon Fear and Dragon Hide
Dwarves get Dwarven Fortitude and Squat Nimbleness
Elves get Elven Accuracy and the appropriate subrace feat
Gnomes get Squat Nimbleness and Squat Nimbleness
Half Elves get Elven Accuracy and Prodigy
Half Orc get Orcish Fury and Prodigy
Halflings get Second Chance and Squat Nimbleness
Humans get Prodigy twice.
Tielfings get Flames of Phlegethon and Infernal Constitution
Based on the above examples, if you really want to add weaknesses (I don't personally like them, but you asked nicely...)

Dragonborn have a raging torrent of elemental energy inside. When they fail a saving throw against a spell or effect that deals the opposite type of energy as their breath weapon (lightning vs acid/poison, fire vs cold), they must roll a second saving throw at the same DC. If that also fails, they take 1d6 force damage for each point of proficiency bonus they possess.

Dwarven physiology is not merely inured to poison: it is dependent on having at least a small amount of poison in the body to process. A dwarf that has not been exposed to alcohol or some other form of poison within the past 24 hours heals more slowly--they only regain one-third of their Hit Dice after a long rest, rather than one-half.

Elves have the sharpest eyes, but risk sensory overload. Whenever an elf benefits from Elven Accuracy but the reroll is worse than the original die, their attack resolves as normal, but they gain one level of exhaustion from having to mentally process so much information. If this is the elf's only level of exhaustion, it can be removed by taking a short rest. All levels of exhaustion applied by this feature are removed after taking a long rest. (Also applies to half-elves.)

I think you missed something with Gnomes. Assuming you meant the Gnome racial feats:
Gnomes fade from sight...and sometimes from physicality as well. Whenever a gnome rolls a natural 1 on a saving throw, they become phased out of physical reality for one round immediately after the saving throw's effects are resolved. During this round, the gnome cannot move, nor take any actions that affect the physical world, and cannot concentrate on any effect.

Half-orcs are full of berserker fury...for good and for ill. When a half-orc is subject to a critical hit, the bloodlust takes over. For one full round after the critical hit is resolved, the half-orc is unable to take any action that does not either bring them physically closer to the origin of the critical hit, or make a melee attack against it. If for any reason the half-orc cannot do so (such as the target being invisible or having teleported away), her turn during that round is wasted.

Halflings have a bountiful store of good luck, but luck unfortunately swings the other way as well. After benefitting from Second Chance or Lucky, the next d20 roll you make after your turn resolves has disadvantage, as the scales of luck rebalance themselves. If you benefit from both effects in the same turn, then you have disadvantage on the next two d20 rolls you make. Should you complete a long rest before making enough d20 rolls, this effect is removed.

Humans are well-known for their high highs...and their low lows. After completing a short or long rest, you have disadvantage on the first skill or ability check you make with which you do not have Expertis (or otherwise apply double your proficiency bonus).

Tieflings inherit the excesses of their fiendish ancestry. Choose whether your ancestor was devilish or demonic.
Demonic: You feel the burning blood of your ancestor strongly, and revel in strong emotions. You have disadvantage on saves against illusions and other spells or effects that primarily affect your senses or perceptions (but not against effects that would control your thoughts.)
Devilish: The rule of law is written in your blood, and you can't escape it. You have disadvantage on any spell or effect that causes paralysis or reduces your movement.

Super duper ultra fast mock-ups here, so it's likely that all of them are dumb or weird in some way. But hopefully they provide a starting point for your own work, or at least a bad example for you to push off against.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'm not adding disadvantage out of balance.
I kow they will be more powerful.

I want to do it to display each race's uniqueness.

Elves take double damege from cold-iron weapons whereas Tieflings take double damage from silver weapons.
Can the player then choose not to get the boost to avoid getting the weakness?
 


ECMO3

Hero
So I was thinking about a new rule for a campaign. Basically TCOE allows players and DMs to customize their races a great deal. However these customization make the races become more samey as the movable parts were the mechanically unique elements of them. Everyone will feel more like a human with a rubber forehead.

So I was thinking. Up the Fantasy a bit.
Everyone gets their racial feats for free at level 1.

Dragonborn get Dragon Fear and Dragon Hide
Dwarves get Dwarven Fortitude and Squat Nimbleness
Elves get Elven Accuracy and the appropriate subrace feat
Gnomes get Squat Nimbleness and Squat Nimbleness
Half Elves get Elven Accuracy and Prodigy
Half Orc get Orcish Fury and Prodigy
Halflings get Second Chance and Squat Nimbleness
Humans get Prodigy twice.
Tielfings get Flames of Phlegethon and Infernal Constitution

But just powering up races feels imbalanced. Not unbalanced but more that you ave to give the good with the bad.

So what to you feels like the appropriate weaknesses for each race that is not just -2 to an ability score that would make the D&D races feel more fantastic?

Should elves have fey vulnerabilities?
Should dwarves have disadvantage to anything not Dwarven?
Should halflings have to roll to not feel the urge to go home and hang out?
I don't think rules are going to fix what appears to be a story/roleplay problem.

Tce provides a lot of options which can blur the lines between races, but this is an option for the players. It is intended to allow race/class combos which would otherwise be at a significant disadvantage. However Players can also make the choice to lean into the stereotypes and keep their character as core as possible.

I think there is a problem in that not all the feats are equal and the combat feats in specific are going to make certain races substantially more powerful then others and cause specific races to have specific builds they favor. For example orcish fury is not going to be very beneficial for a guy who wants to play a halforc wizard and someone incluned to play a skill monkey would really be foolish to take anything other than human. In effect this is going to undue much of what the TCE options were intended to do.
 
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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
There's been several voices raised to the gist of 'don't do this', so I just wanted to pop in with a bit of encouragement to OP to ignore them all, in case they're starting to make you question your judgement.

OP asked us for suggestions on how to implement an idea. If you don't like the idea and have how no ideas about implementation, what are you doing here?

"Hi guys, I'd like some suggestions for running my Cyberpunk game."
"Tough. Instead, we're going to explain why we don't like Cyberpunk."

With that out of the way, the classic Elven weakness is iron, so I would probably work with that. Restrictions on armour and weapons they can use, for example.

Dwarfs are not magical (yes, I grew up playing Warhammer), so maybe some restrictions on magic item use? Based on your game that could either be irrelevant or overly punitive, though.

Struggling a bit with halflings. Perhaps disadvantage on Constitution saves caused by hunger? It would, again, be quite campaign-specific whether that mattered at all
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
There's been several voices raised to the gist of 'don't do this', so I just wanted to pop in with a bit of encouragement to OP to ignore them all, in case they're starting to make you question your judgement.

OP asked us for suggestions on how to implement an idea. If you don't like the idea and have how no ideas about implementation, what are you doing here?
'Is there an opt out option' is not the same as 'don't'
Struggling a bit with halflings. Perhaps disadvantage on Constitution saves caused by hunger? It would, again, be quite campaign-specific whether that mattered at all
Small size is an already existing disadvantage, locking halflings out of weapon choices for 'verisimilitude', which is the greatest disadvantage of all.
 

Helpful NPC Thom

Adventurer
I really like the idea of making race more of an important part of your character beyond the ability scores. I think granting racial feats is a splendid idea, and I would impose some disadvantages to counterbalance it. Giving elves fey vulnerabilities is a good example of that, but you want to be careful that you aren't giving the players too much to track. I might also give each character a special Flaw related to their race. There's not a lot of mechanical weight to that, but it's a way to get players into the proper mindset.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
'Is there an opt out option' is not the same as 'don't'

Small size is an already existing disadvantage, locking halflings out of weapon choices for 'verisimilitude', which is the greatest disadvantage of all.
'If you would like to use a d10 damage die for melee attacks you cannot use a shield' is the greatest disadvantage of all?
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Humans: Disadvantage against Mind Control effects (Charm, Dominate)
Elves: Double Damage from cold-iron. Even holding Cold Iron burns them, dealing 1 damage per round.
Halflings: Triple Ration Requirements for a Medium character.
Tieflings: Same as Elves but Silver. (A whole race that never uses Silver Coins out of Superstition, too)
Half-Orc: Fear Effects act as an Enrage, instead. They attack the nearest target blindly.
Dwarves: Must drink Booze instead of Water or dehydrate.
Gnomes: Cease to Exist. >.>
Dragonborn: When exposed to more gold than their level x 1,000 must roll a save or start building a hoard.
Half-Elves: Imposter Syndrome.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Maybe a good way to assign appropriate "weaknesses" could be done by adjusting the cap on ability scores? It isn't a direct weakness, not a penalty that gets imposed upon a character, but it does move the goalposts a bit for characters at higher levels. For example:

Humans: all ability scores are capped at 20 (PHB standard).
Dwarves: Constitution capped at 22, Dexterity capped at 18, all others capped at 20
Elves: Intelligence capped at 22, Constitution capped at 18, all others capped at 20
Halflings: Dexterity capped at 22, Strength capped at 18, all others capped at 20

And so on.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So Far These are what I've got as my favorites.

Dragonborn
Hoard Instability: You have disadvantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma check if in the presence of more gold and gems then you visibly have on you person.

Dwarves
Lullaby of the Earth: You need the earth's murmurs to properly sleep. If you take a long rest aboveground, you are fatigued afterward and have disadvantage on ability checks until you take a hort or long rest underground or surrounded by earth or stoneworks.

Elves
Iron Weakness:
You have vulnerability to weapons made of pure iron and take 1d4 necrotic damage when touching or stuck by an item made of cold iron.

Gnomes:
I like @EzekielRaiden 's suggestion but I don't know how to write it.

Half-Orc
Fright or Fight:
When frightened, you instead cannot move away form your source of fear and must make spell attacks or Strength weapon attacks at the source if able. You do not have disadvantage on these attacks.
 

So Far These are what I've got as my favorites.

Dragonborn
Hoard Instability: You have disadvantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma check if in the presence of more gold and gems then you visibly have on you person.

Dwarves
Lullaby of the Earth: You need the earth's murmurs to properly sleep. If you take a long rest aboveground, you are fatigued afterward and have disadvantage on ability checks until you take a hort or long rest underground or surrounded by earth or stoneworks.

Elves
Iron Weakness:
You have vulnerability to weapons made of pure iron and take 1d4 necrotic damage when touching or stuck by an item made of cold iron.

Gnomes:
I like @EzekielRaiden 's suggestion but I don't know how to write it.

Half-Orc
Fright or Fight:
When frightened, you instead cannot move away form your source of fear and must make spell attacks or Strength weapon attacks at the source if able. You do not have disadvantage on these attacks.
Assuming you want a more simplified version...

Fading Presence: When you roll a 1 on a saving throw against a spell, you become insubstantial for one round. An insubstantial creature is restrained, cannot concentrate on any effect, and cannot take actions that affect its environment or other creatures. Other creatures automatically fail to affect an insubstantial creature with any action targeting it, and can pass through the insubstantial creature's space.

(Alternatively, you could just say that the target is affected by etherealness for one round with some added problems, but I like the above better, as it's more inherently negative than etherealness is.)
 

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