D&D 5E Homebrew monkey race balance question?

Hope

Villager
So I've created this rough first draft for a Homebrew monkey race and I'd appreciate constructive criticism of it's mechanics or lore.

Hozu are a race of humanoid monkey folk who live in jungles and forests of high elevation. They mostly live in large family groups, which are ruled by two leaders - The Great Sage - who is the group's oldest and wisest member and The Uuaah - who is the group's war leader, chosen in a grand tournament every four years.
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and either your Wisdom or Strength score increases by 1.
  • Size. Hozu stand between 5 and 6 feet. Your size is medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Creature Type. Your creature type is humanoid.
  • Nimble Dodge. If a melee attack misses you, you can immediately move 5 feet in any direction that isn't blocked as a reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
  • Monkey Grip. You gain proficiency in Acrobatics. In addition, you can use Acrobatics in place of Athletics for any checks made to grapple, shove or jump.
  • Tricky Fist. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage and can use Dexterity for both attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • Trip and Bash. Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can either Shove or Grapple that creature as part of the attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Agile Climber. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Simian.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Looking at the racial redo in the new MP:MM book, race natural attacks have been across the board increased to 1d6 base damage. I would increase it the damage in Tricky Fist. On the other hand, I would pick one damage type - nothing else in 5e gives B/P/S damage flexibility. I like how you kept the Monk wording about using DEX.

To bring it in line with similar features in 5e, I wold make Trip and Bash a bonus action. This is pretty powerful, a shove can prone someone and give you Advantage on every attack later in the round. And considering the Monkey Grip feature which focus it on DEX which is already the most powerful ability score, this is not a minor feature. Putting those together makes this exceedingly strong, so having it part of the action economy like Shield Master as well as the limited usage you have listed.

In general the racial features are really focused towards certain types of classes, it seems someone wanting to play classes that aren't focused on melee will find little usage of the features of the class. I would suggest thinking about reducing the magnitude of that focus to broaden it to features that can be useful for other class types.
 

aco175

Legend
What is their role? How do you see them in the world? I look at it and get the feel of a Rafiki-monk type, rather than the Planet of the Apes-type. Some of the abilities should depend on if you are wearing shoes like Agile Climber, monkey grip, and Trip and Bash.

1648209863272.png
1648209928432.png
1648210089725.png
 

Hope

Villager
Looking at the racial redo in the new MP:MM book, race natural attacks have been across the board increased to 1d6 base damage. I would increase it the damage in Tricky Fist. On the other hand, I would pick one damage type - nothing else in 5e gives B/P/S damage flexibility. I like how you kept the Monk wording about using DEX.

To bring it in line with similar features in 5e, I wold make Trip and Bash a bonus action. This is pretty powerful, a shove can prone someone and give you Advantage on every attack later in the round. And considering the Monkey Grip feature which focus it on DEX which is already the most powerful ability score, this is not a minor feature. Putting those together makes this exceedingly strong, so having it part of the action economy like Shield Master as well as the limited usage you have listed.

In general the racial features are really focused towards certain types of classes, it seems someone wanting to play classes that aren't focused on melee will find little usage of the features of the class. I would suggest thinking about reducing the magnitude of that focus to broaden it to features that can be useful for other class types.
I think turning trip into a bonus action ruins any synergy with the monk class though. In addition, minotaurs get unlimited bonus action 10 foot shoves, though those can't prone.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think turning trip into a bonus action ruins any synergy with the monk class though. In addition, minotaurs get unlimited bonus action 10 foot shoves, though those can't prone.
It does mess it up - and that's okay. Tailoring a race with multiple features that are a perfect fit with a class is part of being overly focused that I talked about. Also, regardless if it's not perfect synergy with the class, it does need balancing because of how powerful it is. Especially with another feature multiplying it so it works with DEX or STR.

The the Minotaur does have it as a Bonus Action - showing the action economy hit. This is more powerful than the Minotaur because of Monkey Grip, as well as being able to do more things. It needs to be limited even more than that.
 

Just feels like they get too many things, imo. One of the dangers when designing a animal based pc race is the desire to give them every attribute we ascribe to the animal. This is not to say they are too powerful, as all told, their abilities are niche, quality of life kinda improvements. It's just a lot to keep track of. I would ditch Tricky Fist, remove Agile Climber and instead add it to the list of Acrobatics additions under Monkey Grip. I would say use the Tabaxi as a guide, as in terms of broad strokes, they cover similar ground. Tabaxi also get a whole lota powers.
 

Hope

Villager
Just feels like they get too many things, imo. One of the dangers when designing a animal based pc race is the desire to give them every attribute we ascribe to the animal. This is not to say they are too powerful, as all told, their abilities are niche, quality of life kinda improvements. It's just a lot to keep track of. I would ditch Tricky Fist, remove Agile Climber and instead add it to the list of Acrobatics additions under Monkey Grip. I would say use the Tabaxi as a guide, as in terms of broad strokes, they cover similar ground. Tabaxi also get a whole lota powers.
Not giving the monkey people climbing speed ??
 


Hope

Villager
It does mess it up - and that's okay. Tailoring a race with multiple features that are a perfect fit with a class is part of being overly focused that I talked about. Also, regardless if it's not perfect synergy with the class, it does need balancing because of how powerful it is. Especially with another feature multiplying it so it works with DEX or STR.

The the Minotaur does have it as a Bonus Action - showing the action economy hit. This is more powerful than the Minotaur because of Monkey Grip, as well as being able to do more things. It needs to be limited even more than that.
They've gotta be decent ones though. Turning trip into a bonus action makes them naughty word ones.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
They've gotta be decent ones though. Turning trip into a bonus action makes them naughty word ones.
No. It makes it a quite cool ability, just not one that perfectly lines up with Monk. It feels like you are trying to make a perfect Monk race,a nd that's a bad balance point that I talked about. On the other hand many melee classes don't have a good bonus action economy and would like a selection of extras they can do, and with Monkey Grip it's based off STR or DEX so it's pretty much always applicable.

Really, this is too powerful without an impact on the action economy.
 

Hope

Villager
No. It makes it a quite cool ability, just not one that perfectly lines up with Monk. It feels like you are trying to make a perfect Monk race,a nd that's a bad balance point that I talked about. On the other hand many melee classes don't have a good bonus action economy and would like a selection of extras they can do, and with Monkey Grip it's based off STR or DEX so it's pretty much always applicable.

Really, this is too powerful without an impact on the action economy.
You've convinced me. Sorry if I came off as agressive.
 

So I've created this rough first draft for a Homebrew monkey race and I'd appreciate constructive criticism of it's mechanics or lore.

Hozu are a race of humanoid monkey folk who live in jungles and forests of high elevation. They mostly live in large family groups, which are ruled by two leaders - The Great Sage - who is the group's oldest and wisest member and The Uuaah - who is the group's war leader, chosen in a grand tournament every four years.
What sort of tournament - Is the Uuaah selected for being the best leader, or just the best fighter?
What other races do they interact with, and how? What do they trade for and what are they known for?

A bit more physical description in terns of visualising them: Do they have massive claws as implied by the Tricky Fist ability? Tails? A climb speed fits well with a monkey-like arboreal race, but what grants them better mobility on the ground than most terrestrial-adapted races as suggested by Nimble Dodge?
If all Hozu channel magic as Ki like Monks can, as implied by the Tricky Fist etc abilities, do they have rituals or other parts of their culture based around Ki?

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and either your Wisdom or Strength score increases by 1.
  • Size. Hozu stand between 5 and 6 feet. Your size is medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Creature Type. Your creature type is humanoid.
  • Nimble Dodge. If a melee attack misses you, you can immediately move 5 feet in any direction that isn't blocked as a reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
  • Monkey Grip. You gain proficiency in Acrobatics. In addition, you can use Acrobatics in place of Athletics for any checks made to grapple, shove or jump.
  • Tricky Fist. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage and can use Dexterity for both attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • Trip and Bash. Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can either Shove or Grapple that creature as part of the attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Agile Climber. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Simian.
This comes across as way too powerful due to the abilities, and the synergies created. It is also encouraging most PC Hozu to be unathletic couch potatoes.

Nimble dodge: This is very powerful. It isn't always going to be useful, since an opponent can often just follow them and attack again as part of their same turn, but it is useful enough to the the major feature of the race.
Monkey Grip: Let the player choose between Acrobatics and Athletics. As written it isn't too powerful, but I have a feeling you actually want the Hozu to be able to substitute their Dexterity bonus for their Strength bonus on most meaningful physical ability checks rather than just applying their Acrobatics proficiency to Str checks. That would be a little too powerful.
Tricky Fist - Again, being able to concentrate resources on the best ability in the game and apply it to capabilities that are covered by a less powerful ability smacks a little too much of excessive min/maxing. Having massive bony hands with bladelike claws would be a little odd for a monkey-like climbing race, but would explain the unarmed strike damage and its ability to be of different types. - Not too powerful.
Able to apply Dex to attack and damage to those unarmed strikes is very powerful however, and odd thematically. - Monks can do this because they channel magic. - If all Hozu can channel magical energy as Ki like monks do, this would likely affect their culture.
Trip and Bash - OK as a base ability with limited uses for most races. Just tends to stack up as even more min/maxing in a race that gets so many bonuses aligned along this focus.
 

There's too much here for a race. I'd cut Trip and Bash (the most focused and most powerful ability) and make it a racial half feat. This would leave the base race as strong for any class (particularly dex based ones), and give the "monks and eccentric unarmed fighter builds" optimizer element an additional cost. I might also move Tricky Fist in with the feat.

Even without these monk optimized elements it is a fairly strong race, giving a situationally clutch reaction, Acrobatics (and an improved version that can replace Athletics in many of the places where Athletics is actually normally mandatory), and easy climbing.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In general the racial features are really focused towards certain types of classes, it seems someone wanting to play classes that aren't focused on melee will find little usage of the features of the class. I would suggest thinking about reducing the magnitude of that focus to broaden it to features that can be useful for other class types.
To this final point, perhaps Nimble Dodge could include succeeding on dexterity saving throws against damaging effects?

Or let it work when any attack misses, not just melee attacks.
 

I would, personally, move Trip and Dash and Nimble Dodge to a (single) racial half-feat, with the stat bonus being the player's choice of +1 Str, Dex, or Wis. Those are solid benefits that someone might want to opt into, . Monkey Grip and Tricky Fist would then be pretty decent, though upping the damage dice as noted earlier would be wise.

Then, add to the baseline some kind of ribbon, something entertaining but not strictly powerful. My suggestion would be something like...
  • Monkey Fun: Choose either Performance or one instrument. You gain proficiency with that skill or instrument. Double your proficiency bonus when using that skill or instrument to engage in comedy, satire, or improvisational theater. (As normal, this does not stack with any other feature, such as Expertise, which multiplies your proficiency bonus.)
That's a solid ribbon, nothing crazy but it encourages a certain kind of behavior and perspective, very appropriate to the Sun Wukong inspiration. Between a climb speed, better unarmed damage, the above ribbon, and a solid skill proficiency plus a very solid expansion of what it can do (essentially allowing a hozu to completely ignore Str and focus only on Dex if they like), that's a pretty good race. If you feel it still needs a little boost at that point, I would modify Monkey Grip as follows (additions underlined):

  • Monkey Grip. You gain proficiency in Acrobatics. In addition, you can use Acrobatics in place of Athletics for any checks made to grapple, shove or jump. When you reach level 11, this feature provides expertise in Acrobatics rather than proficiency.

Or, to give a full write-up with all my suggestions:

Hozu
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and either your Wisdom or Strength score increases by 1.
  • Size. Hozu stand between 5 and 6 feet. Your size is medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Creature Type. Your creature type is humanoid.
  • Monkey Grip. You gain proficiency in Acrobatics. In addition, you can use Acrobatics in place of Athletics for any checks made to grapple, shove or jump. When you reach level 11, this feature provides expertise in Acrobatics rather than proficiency.
  • Tricky Fist. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage and can use Dexterity for both attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • Agile Climber. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Monkey Fun: Choose either Performance or one instrument. You gain proficiency with that skill or instrument. Double your proficiency bonus when using that skill or instrument to engage in comedy, satire, or improvisational theater. (As normal, this does not stack with any other feature, such as Expertise, which multiplies your proficiency bonus.)
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Simian.

And a feat, call it "Monkey King Style":
You are almost preternaturally flexible in combat, flowing around enemy blows, never staying quite within reach.
Increase your Strength, Dexterity, or Wisdom by 1, to a maximum of 20.
You master the art of the nimble dodge. If a melee attack misses you, you can immediately move 5 feet in any direction that isn't blocked as a reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can either Shove or Grapple that creature as part of the attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
 

Hope

Villager
What sort of tournament - Is the Uuaah selected for being the best leader, or just the best fighter?
What other races do they interact with, and how? What do they trade for and what are they known for?

A bit more physical description in terns of visualising them: Do they have massive claws as implied by the Tricky Fist ability? Tails? A climb speed fits well with a monkey-like arboreal race, but what grants them better mobility on the ground than most terrestrial-adapted races as suggested by Nimble Dodge?
If all Hozu channel magic as Ki like Monks can, as implied by the Tricky Fist etc abilities, do they have rituals or other parts of their culture based around Ki?


This comes across as way too powerful due to the abilities, and the synergies created. It is also encouraging most PC Hozu to be unathletic couch potatoes.

Nimble dodge: This is very powerful. It isn't always going to be useful, since an opponent can often just follow them and attack again as part of their same turn, but it is useful enough to the the major feature of the race.
Monkey Grip: Let the player choose between Acrobatics and Athletics. As written it isn't too powerful, but I have a feeling you actually want the Hozu to be able to substitute their Dexterity bonus for their Strength bonus on most meaningful physical ability checks rather than just applying their Acrobatics proficiency to Str checks. That would be a little too powerful.
Tricky Fist - Again, being able to concentrate resources on the best ability in the game and apply it to capabilities that are covered by a less powerful ability smacks a little too much of excessive min/maxing. Having massive bony hands with bladelike claws would be a little odd for a monkey-like climbing race, but would explain the unarmed strike damage and its ability to be of different types. - Not too powerful.
Able to apply Dex to attack and damage to those unarmed strikes is very powerful however, and odd thematically. - Monks can do this because they channel magic. - If all Hozu can channel magical energy as Ki like monks do, this would likely affect their culture.
Trip and Bash - OK as a base ability with limited uses for most races. Just tends to stack up as even more min/maxing in a race that gets so many bonuses aligned along this focus.
Tricky Fist, despite its name, is also suppose to involve biting and scratching. They're tailed, agile monkey folk like baboons or macaques.
 

ART!

Legend
So I've created this rough first draft for a Homebrew monkey race and I'd appreciate constructive criticism of it's mechanics or lore.

Hozu are a race of humanoid monkey folk who live in jungles and forests of high elevation. They mostly live in large family groups, which are ruled by two leaders - The Great Sage - who is the group's oldest and wisest member and The Uuaah - who is the group's war leader, chosen in a grand tournament every four years.
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and either your Wisdom or Strength score increases by 1.
  • Size. Hozu stand between 5 and 6 feet. Your size is medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Creature Type. Your creature type is humanoid.
  • Nimble Dodge. If a melee attack misses you, you can immediately move 5 feet in any direction that isn't blocked as a reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
  • Monkey Grip. You gain proficiency in Acrobatics. In addition, you can use Acrobatics in place of Athletics for any checks made to grapple, shove or jump.
  • Tricky Fist. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage and can use Dexterity for both attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • Trip and Bash. Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can either Shove or Grapple that creature as part of the attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Agile Climber. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Simian.
Nimble Dodge is pretty clever!

Tricky Fist seems too powerful: you get to choose your damage type and you get to use DEX for attack and damage.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top