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Looking for feedback on this Dryad homebrew race.

Zethnos

First Post
I sat down today and made a homebrew Dryad race: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-LFwCzSj3lpPP7dwVn4O
This is my first homebrew and I am pretty proud of it. I love the theme of a magical Oaken Warrior race and thought it would make a cool project.

I had a few people give me advice so far and I made changes accordingly. I looked at the DB and from what I could tell it scored between 25 and 27. I'm not exactly sure how to score certain things on it though as I have never used it before.

I may make changes and edits to this OP based on replies.

I can't wait to hear what you guys think!

--Edit--
Okay, I think between here, reddit, & discord, the racial mechanics have been finely tuned. I'm not too sure if there may be something else that needs done to it mechanically or not. Part of me feels like I may need to remove something, but I really really don't want to. Everything seems to fit the theme and lore very well.
 
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Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
The natural armor is too much -- a permanent, 2nd-level spell (Barkskin), not dependent on concentration. That is not paralleled in any other race I can think of, and should be removed.

(The fact that the spell's effect is so very poorly worded should also give you pause).

I'd also suggest rethinking Dexterity: it's such a powerful stat. Maybe strength (strong as an oak...)?
 

Zethnos

First Post
Looks good to me, but I'd suggest making Oaken Step a bonus action instead of 10' of movement.

That would actually be pretty great. I was a bit worried that it would be too strong if I didn't use some sort of movement, but then it would compare more to Fey Step from the Eladrin but it would be dependent on large trees being near by.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
I sat down today and made a homebrew Dryad race: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-LFwCzSj3lpPP7dwVn4O
This is my first homebrew and I am pretty proud of it. I love the theme of a magical Oaken Warrior race and thought it would make a cool project.

I had a few people give me advice so far and I made changes accordingly. I looked at the DB and from what I could tell it scored between 25 and 27. I'm not exactly sure how to score certain things on it though as I have never used it before.

I have a few concerns about the racial abilities.

1: Does the version of Find Familiar I am using seem too strong? I wouldn't think that it would be that big of a deal since the creatures don't take attacks. Really this just allows you to have slightly bigger creatures. In my eyes I don't really see a problem, but I don't know enough to really say if it is or isn't too strong.

2: Someone mentioned that with the Natural Armor I set the AC too high. I am basically using the Barkskin spell for this. It was suggested that I use this instead of 13 + dex (like with lizard folk) because Barkskin is weaker. Since it states you can't have lower than a 16, you don't get to just have 16 + a shield as to where 13 + dex opens the door to 13 + 2 + shield = 17 or 18 with a 16 dex.

3: Oaken Step... Okay I thought this was just an awesome ability. Modeled after the Tree Stride spell, but downgraded a looot. I was comparing it to the Firbolg Hidden Step (Volo's) and the Eladrin Fey Step (DMG). Should I pull it back even further or does it seem okay?

Other than that I would also like general feedback on the concept and what you think about it over all.

I may make changes and edits to this OP based on replies.

I can't wait to hear what you guys think!

Dryad Magic, including Find Familiar, looks fine.

Fey Ancestry is fine.

Natural Armor needs to have the AC downgraded to a 12 or 13. It should be roughly equivalent to the mage armor spell. Alternately, you can base it on a stat modifier. 10 + Constitution modifier works, and it's roughly equivalent to having an Unarmored Defense ability.

Speech of Beast & Leaf looks fine. However, I'd open it up a bit more so the dryad could choose animal languages as known languages, being able to choose broad families of animals to speak with (canines, felines, reptiles, etc).

Oaken step, it looks less powerful than what I'd go with. First off, I'd let the dryad ignore all naturally occurring difficult terrain while in a forest. I'd also let the dryad move through trees with each foot of movement through a tree costing them 2 feet of movement (instead of trees being obstacles that can't be passed through). I'd change the "within your reach" language to within 5 feet. And, I'd also probably remove the once per long rest (i.e. 1/day) restriction and have the ability use up a bonus action without consuming any of the dryad's movement.
 

Zethnos

First Post
The natural armor is too much -- a permanent, 2nd-level spell (Barkskin), not dependent on concentration. That is not paralleled in any other race I can think of, and should be removed.

(The fact that the spell's effect is so very poorly worded should also give you pause).

I'd also suggest rethinking Dexterity: it's such a powerful stat. Maybe strength (strong as an oak...)?

I've had a few people elsewhere comment on this and once I explain it more clearly they tend to agree with me. This is leading me to rewrite the ability to better represent what it is supposed to be.
I know the whole "free 2nd level spell" aspect seems a bit intimidating but allow me to explain.

Okay this ability grants you a minimum 16 AC. Regardless of any armor you are wearing. This means shields, magic items, etc. do not contribute to your natural armor AC. The only way to get an AC higher than 16 is either with a spell, gaining cover, heavy armor, or light & medium armor and a shield.

Here is some math for comparison.
Level 1 Only

Barkskin Natural Armor: 16 AC
- Can't be increased by any means other than a spell such as mage armor, gaining cover, or by dawning actual armor with a higher AC.

13 + Dex Mod Natural Armor (Lizard Folk): 13 + 12 Dex + Shield = 16 AC
- With a racial bonus of +1 or +2 you can achieve this with an roll or Point Buy of 10 & 11.
- Can be enhanced by more dex and better items.

1st Level Spell Mage Armor: Same as 13 + Dex Natural Armor.
- Wizard + Sorcerer
- Can obtain use from a shield by human variant feat or other race with proficiency in shields.
- Without shield can obtain a 16 AC with a 14 or 15 Dex and +1 or +2 racial bonus.
- Also combines with Shield Spell.

Level 1 Fighter: Chain Mail = 16 AC
- 18 AC With Shield
- 19 AC With Shield & Defense Fighting Style

Level 1 Ranger: Scale Mail = 14 + 14 Dex = 16 AC
- 14 + 10 Dex + Shield = 16 AC
- 14 + 14 Dex + Shield = 18 AC
- Racial bonuses means you could also have a 12 or 13 starting dex.

Monk & Barbarian Unarmored Defense: 10 + Dex + (Wis/Con)
- 10 + 16 + 16 = 16 AC
- 10 + 14 + 14 + Shield (Barbarian) = 16 AC
- 10 + 12 + 16 + Shield (Barbarian) = 16 AC
- Can be influenced by racial mods. Starting values can be lower.

Leather Armor: 11 + Dex + Shield
- 11 + 16 + 2 = 16 AC
- Is influenced by Dex and racial bonuses.

As you can see, every class has a way of gaining and even exceeding 16 AC. It may require a race with natural armor like the Lizardfolk, a feat from human variant, or armor/shield proficiency from a race but is still easily obtainable. Basically, using this to calculate AC it is useless to have it going into a martial call because they will be given much higher AC much more easily. Using it as a caster class may grant you AC that is not very easily obtained, but still obtainable, while not gaining any benefits to INT or CHA. This would only really benefit Druids who can still use armor and shields. I feel it is very on par with other resources as far as calculating AC, especially with the consideration that it doesn't gain any bonuses from shields, abilities, etc.

On the topic of the Dex stat, ehh I mean. Strong as an Oak usually refers to how resilient they are... Which means Con :p
I could see giving Str, but there are a few races that do grant Wis & Dex together so I don't really feel that it would be too powerful. I will consider it though and do some more research on stat combinations.
 

Zethnos

First Post
Dryad Magic, including Find Familiar, looks fine.

Fey Ancestry is fine.

Natural Armor needs to have the AC downgraded to a 12 or 13. It should be roughly equivalent to the mage armor spell. Alternately, you can base it on a stat modifier. 10 + Constitution modifier works, and it's roughly equivalent to having an Unarmored Defense ability.

Speech of Beast & Leaf looks fine. However, I'd open it up a bit more so the dryad could choose animal languages as known languages, being able to choose broad families of animals to speak with (canines, felines, reptiles, etc).

Oaken step, it looks less powerful than what I'd go with. First off, I'd let the dryad ignore all naturally occurring difficult terrain while in a forest. I'd also let the dryad move through trees with each foot of movement through a tree costing them 2 feet of movement (instead of trees being obstacles that can't be passed through). I'd change the "within your reach" language to within 5 feet. And, I'd also probably remove the once per long rest (i.e. 1/day) restriction and have the ability use up a bonus action without consuming any of the dryad's movement.

I just made a long response to the natural armor thing if you would like to check it out :)

Hmm choosing animal languages huh? I did consider working it in such a way that "You can communicate with plants and animals as though you shared a language" would that be more of what you mean?

So with Oaken step you'd have:
- Ignore non-magical difficult terrain in Forest environments.
- Can walk through trees costing double the move speed as you pass through the area the tree occupies.
- While still including the ability to jump from one tree to another within 30 feet as a bonus action every round?
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
I've had a few people elsewhere comment on this and once I explain it more clearly they tend to agree with me.
<snip>

The fact that other characters *can* get the same starting AC is irrelevant -- this is giving it to them without any investment (in class, or stats, or feats, or spells).

Your discussion begins to outline why the spell is so poorly worded; it is something that has been discussed on these boards previously, and that's part of why I don't like it here.

Even though you don't think it's powerful, it is still a concentration-free, no-duration-limit second level spell. AC12+dex (~leather, less than dragon hide) is what I would suggest instead.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
I just made a long response to the natural armor thing if you would like to check it out :)

I read it, and I stand by my decision. Saying that bark is about as tough as hard leather, and that the dryad's barkskin should therefore be on par with the leather armors makes thematic sense to me. Sure, the math works out about equally, so I can't really say your way is overpowered. However, it just feels wrong that the dryad is basically walking around wearing heavy armor (by that, I don't mean the exact amount of the AC granted is equivalent to heavy armor; I mean that the AC is a flat number that completely ignores her Dexterity modifier).


Hmm choosing animal languages huh? I did consider working it in such a way that "You can communicate with plants and animals as though you shared a language" would that be more of what you mean?

Sort of. What I mean is that I'd basically create languages for families of animals (canines, felines, etc.) and let the dryad pick those languages as languages from background and/or race. That would be in addition to what the ability already says. So, the dryad would be able to convey general meanings and understanding with all plants and animals, but she'd be able to carry on actual conversations with some animals because they'd literally speak the same language. I do this in my primeval setting of Wildwood, where there's a constant struggle between nature and civilization.

But, I can also see easily making the case for simplification, and allowing the dryad to spend two language choices to be able to share a language with all plants and animals.


So with Oaken step you'd have:
- Ignore non-magical difficult terrain in Forest environments.
- Can walk through trees costing double the move speed as you pass through the area the tree occupies.
- While still including the ability to jump from one tree to another within 30 feet as a bonus action every round?

Yes, but with one restriction, the difficult terrain must be natural, not just non-magical. If the dryad is wading through brush, then sure. But, if a cart has overturned spilling boxes and such onto a forest road, moving through those spaces would still be difficult terrain (because those are man-made items, not natural terrain).

I realize my version sounds like it might be a bit much, but the last part (moving from one tree to another within 30 feet as a bonus action) is basically on par with being able to dash as a bonus action, especially if you have to be able to see the tree you're going to.
 

Zethnos

First Post
I read it, and I stand by my decision. Saying that bark is about as tough as hard leather, and that the dryad's barkskin should therefore be on par with the leather armors makes thematic sense to me. Sure, the math works out about equally, so I can't really say your way is overpowered. However, it just feels wrong that the dryad is basically walking around wearing heavy armor (by that, I don't mean the exact amount of the AC granted is equivalent to heavy armor; I mean that the AC is a flat number that completely ignores her Dexterity modifier).

Yeah I actually just rewrote the description of it and saved it so that it makes more sense. I'm struggling with it a small bit myself. At first I did give them 13 + dex, but someone suggested replicating Barkskin and thought it sounded great (at least thematically) and the numbers worked out in my head. I may still change it. I've had people suggest I just add a flat "+x to ac", others like the barkskin idea, and some say to go with 12-13 + Dex. So I'm not sure. It's a lot to think about. Also if it helps, there is an official race that has a flat AC https://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1507/86/1507860993983.pdf


Sort of. What I mean is that I'd basically create languages for families of animals (canines, felines, etc.) and let the dryad pick those languages as languages from background and/or race. That would be in addition to what the ability already says. So, the dryad would be able to convey general meanings and understanding with all plants and animals, but she'd be able to carry on actual conversations with some animals because they'd literally speak the same language. I do this in my primeval setting of Wildwood, where there's a constant struggle between nature and civilization.

But, I can also see easily making the case for simplification, and allowing the dryad to spend two language choices to be able to share a language with all plants and animals.

Ohhhh so similar to how classes have "Pick x skills from this list to be proficient in." but with animal languages. That is actually a really cool idea. It would get pretty wordy as I would have to explain just what all kinds of creatures you could talk to for each language. I think for now I will probably end up removing Sylvan from the languages and leave speak with beasts. Mostly for simplification, but I will defiantly write that down and come back to it.

Yes, but with one restriction, the difficult terrain must be natural, not just non-magical. If the dryad is wading through brush, then sure. But, if a cart has overturned spilling boxes and such onto a forest road, moving through those spaces would still be difficult terrain (because those are man-made items, not natural terrain).

I realize my version sounds like it might be a bit much, but the last part (moving from one tree to another within 30 feet as a bonus action) is basically on par with being able to dash as a bonus action, especially if you have to be able to see the tree you're going to.

Yeah I was thinking that it sounded like a lot, especially when paired with the natural armor and dryad magic. I tell you what though. I am actually considering making a sub race and may include those abilities there. I'm still not 100% sure on it though. But yeah it is pretty much on par with dashing and fey step. I changed it to a bonus action and unlimited times per day.
 

Zethnos

First Post
The fact that other characters *can* get the same starting AC is irrelevant -- this is giving it to them without any investment (in class, or stats, or feats, or spells).

Your discussion begins to outline why the spell is so poorly worded; it is something that has been discussed on these boards previously, and that's part of why I don't like it here.

Even though you don't think it's powerful, it is still a concentration-free, no-duration-limit second level spell. AC12+dex (~leather, less than dragon hide) is what I would suggest instead.

So here's the thing... Dwarves exist... and also... This exists. http://engl393-dnd5th.wikia.com/wiki/Protection_from_Poison

Are Dwarves overpowered now?

Also I rewrote the description of the natural armor if you want to take a look.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Yeah I actually just rewrote the description of it and saved it so that it makes more sense. I'm struggling with it a small bit myself. At first I did give them 13 + dex, but someone suggested replicating Barkskin and thought it sounded great (at least thematically) and the numbers worked out in my head. I may still change it. I've had people suggest I just add a flat "+x to ac", others like the barkskin idea, and some say to go with 12-13 + Dex. So I'm not sure. It's a lot to think about. Also if it helps, there is an official race that has a flat AC https://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1507/86/1507860993983.pdf

Well yeah, but it's a turtle race. A shell feels a lot like wearing a kind of heavy armor, and the heavy armor mechanic of granting a flat AC that ignores Dex modifier makes sense thematically there to me. Whatever you decide to go with, I'm glad we could understand each other about our different perspectives on the issue.


Ohhhh so similar to how classes have "Pick x skills from this list to be proficient in." but with animal languages. That is actually a really cool idea. It would get pretty wordy as I would have to explain just what all kinds of creatures you could talk to for each language. I think for now I will probably end up removing Sylvan from the languages and leave speak with beasts. Mostly for simplification, but I will defiantly write that down and come back to it.

True. Cutting down on how wordy the explanation is was a difficult part of writing for my Wildwood setting. That's part of why I figured some people might want to simplify it down to making the ability to share a language with all beasts equivalent to taking an exotic language (which some DMs charge two language choices for).


Yeah I was thinking that it sounded like a lot, especially when paired with the natural armor and dryad magic. I tell you what though. I am actually considering making a sub race and may include those abilities there. I'm still not 100% sure on it though. But yeah it is pretty much on par with dashing and fey step. I changed it to a bonus action and unlimited times per day.

The way it's currently written, I'd say you should add that you must be able to see the tree you're going to. But, it's your call.


Also, I'd probably add some kid of drawback to the race. What if the dryad couldn't take rests in urban environments? Or, if the dryad could but only recovered half as many HPs and/or HDs? That sounds fairly thematic for a dryad.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
So here's the thing... Dwarves exist... and also... This exists. http://engl393-dnd5th.wikia.com/wiki/Protection_from_Poison
Well, as you can see, Dwarves have only part of the effect of the spell (they don't have the ability to remove poison once they have the condition).

Another argument you could have used was the Darkvision spell.

In both of these cases, though, it's not a concentration-based spell, which Barkskin is. That suggests it is a more powerful spell than the two without concentration.

I think we should just agree to disagree. You have heard the criticism before, and you've heard it now again. Happy gaming.
 

Barkskin is a bit of a rubbish spell in 5e, I think it's worded the way it does for use in conjunction with Wildshape.

I would go with either a flat 3+dex AC when unarmoured (like lizardfolk), or con+dex (like barbarians). It's simpler anyway.
 

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