D&D 5E [+]Need Help Polishing Racial Features for a Homebrew Hengeyokai

Azzy

KMF DM
I'm homebrewing a hengeyoukai race and would like a bit of help with the wording and such of the most prominent racial feature—the ability to shapeshift between human, animal, and hybrid forms. I want to keep it fairly concise as well as fairly simple.

Here's what I got:

Nature’s Mask. As an action, you can change between your human, Tiny animal, or hybrid form. The new form lasts until you change forms again. Your statistics, other than your size, are the same in each form. While you are in human or animal form, other creatures can attempt to discern your true nature by making a DC 18 Wisdom (Insight). You revert to your animal form if you die.

While in animal form, you can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak (except to communicate with other animals of your type) or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying in Humanoid form melds into the animal form. You can't activate, use, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of your equipment.

You gain the following benefits while in your animal form.

Badger: You gain a burrow speed equal to half your speed.

Carp, Crab: You gain a swim speed equal to your speed, and then your land speed becomes 5 ft. You can breathe underwater.

Cat, Monkey, Raccoon Dog, Rat: You gain a climb speed equal to half your speed.

Crane, Sparrow: Your land speed becomes 5 ft., and you gain a fly speed of 30 ft.

Dog, Fox, Hare: Your speed increases by 10 ft.

You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Given that your bird types get 30 ft fly speed why do the others only get half speed? A cat or monkey should be able to climb at normal speed. Not sure why a scuttling crab would be that slow either.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Given that your bird types get 30 ft fly speed why do the others only get half speed? A cat or monkey should be able to climb at normal speed. Not sure why a scuttling crab would be that slow either.
That's based on previous edition versions of the race.
 

aco175

Legend
Are these things animals first or humans first? I was on the FR page talking about them more as spirits that spend their first 100 years in animal form. That may affect the items melding with them when shapeshifting. It sucks to not have things meld with them, but if they die- they turn to animal form and what would happen to items? If I ran into NPCs of this race would they have d6 or d8 HP being small normally or medium?

It looks like you have dog listed twice above with both a climb speed and 10ft extra speed.

I also assume you looked at the wording for lycanthropes for help as well.
 

It looks like you have dog listed twice above with both a climb speed and 10ft extra speed.
The one with a climb speed is a Raccoon Dog, or Tanuki.

1280px-Tanuki_in_Higashiyama_Zoo_-_2.jpg
 

the Jester

Legend
Hey, I just did my own conversion of these guys!

I think your basic wording is good for this, although you might consider basing the DC to recognize the hengeyokai on the character's Charisma or Cha (Deception) or something.

For the record, I made each type of hengeyokai basically it's own subrace with its own package of modifiers; for instance, I gave the Crab hengeyokai the following:

Monsters in Cydra v 5.2 said:
Crab
You are a crab in your true form. You have the following additional racial traits.
  • Increase your Constitution by 2.
  • Swim Speed. You have a Swim speed of 20'.
  • Crab Form. While in cat form, you use the Crab stat block except that you retain your own Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, alignment, and hit points.
  • Hybrid Form. While in hybrid form, you use the stat block of your human form, but you have natural armor. You can figure your AC as 13 + your Dex bonus. In addition, your hybrid form can breathe air and water.
 

Let's remember a bird can fly and that means to avoid of obstacles for ordinary walkers. They can be the perfect infiltrator, if can avoid the attack of flyer predators as hawks, or hunters with bows.

And what about the senses? An animal can listen or smell better than a humanoid, to detect potential predators or preys. That may be important if you are the sentinel in the night rest.

In the past editions PC races with shapesifter traits were considerer overpowered for the first level.



The tibbits or catwere were a PC race published in Dragon Magazine with traits close to hengeyokai.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Are these things animals first or humans first? I was on the FR page talking about them more as spirits that spend their first 100 years in animal form. That may affect the items melding with them when shapeshifting. It sucks to not have things meld with them, but if they die- they turn to animal form and what would happen to items? If I ran into NPCs of this race would they have d6 or d8 HP being small normally or medium?
Yeah, I didn't think of the melded gear not returning when the die if they revert to animal form. I'll need to fix that. I wanted to make them "animal-first" to keep with their lore, but didn't consider this issue.

It looks like you have dog listed twice above with both a climb speed and 10ft extra speed.
"Raccoon dog" is the English term for the animal known in Japan as a "tanuki". They're cute animals.

Thanks!
 

Maybe it's just me, but I'm unsure if the limit on uses refers to total transformation or transformations from base - in other words, if I switch from fox form to humanoid that's clearly a use, but if I go from human back to fox I don't know if that's a use or not.

Also you don't say what the hybrid form is like or what features you gain/lose.
 


Azzy

KMF DM
Maybe it's just me, but I'm unsure if the limit on uses refers to total transformation or transformations from base - in other words, if I switch from fox form to humanoid that's clearly a use, but if I go from human back to fox I don't know if that's a use or not.
Yes, each transformation to or fro counts as a use.

Also you don't say what the hybrid form is like or what features you gain/lose.
My bad as I only shared this one trait. Like some of its previous edition iteration, my conversion doesn't give the hybrid form any unique abilities. It shares the ability with its animal form to communicate with mundane animals of its animal type.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Hey, I just did my own conversion of these guys!
Awesome!
I think your basic wording is good for this, although you might consider basing the DC to recognize the hengeyokai on the character's Charisma or Cha (Deception) or something.
I've been considering that, too. I'm undecided which is the better option.


For the record, I made each type of hengeyokai basically it's own subrace with its own package of modifiers; for instance, I gave the Crab hengeyokai the following:
I had originally made them subraces, but it looks like WotC is doing away with subraces, so I'm trying to follow the current design paradigm for what it's worth.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Here's the full list of traits so far:

Hengeyōkai Traits​

As a hengeyōkai, you have the following racial traits.

Creature Type. You are a Fey.

Size. You are Medium or Small. You choose the size.

Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.

Animal Form. Choose an animal form when you select this race: badger, carp, cat, crab, crane, dog, fox, hare, monkey, raccoon dog, rat, or sparrow.

Language of Beasts. While in your animal or hybrid form, you can communicate with beasts of your animal form’s type. In human form, you can understand the communication of such beasts, but cannot communicate with them.

Nature’s Mask. As an action, you can change between your human, Tiny animal, or hybrid form. The new form lasts until you change forms again. Your statistics, other than your size, are the same in each form. While you are in human or animal form, other creatures can attempt to discern your true nature by making a DC 18 Wisdom (Insight). You revert to your hybrid form if you die.

While in animal form, you can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak (except to communicate with other animals of your type) or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying in Humanoid form melds into the animal form. You can't activate, use, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of your equipment.

You gain the following benefits while in your animal form.

Badger: You gain a burrow speed equal to half your speed.

Carp, Crab: You gain a swim speed equal to your speed, and then your land speed becomes 5 ft. You can breathe underwater.

Cat, Monkey, Raccoon Dog, Rat: You gain a climb speed equal to half your speed.

Crane, Sparrow: Your land speed becomes 5 ft., and you gain a fly speed of 30 ft.

Dog, Fox, Hare: Your speed increases by 10 ft.

You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

I'm positing giving the hybrid form something of its own. Like proficiency (double proficiency if already proficient) with a Skill determined by the animal form (like Acrobatics, Athletics, Stealth, Perception, etc.). Not sure on this at all.


I made them fey because nothing screams fey like intelligent animals that shapeshift and play tricks on people.
 

Yes, each transformation to or fro counts as a use.
If they're out of uses, they're stuck?

FWIW, I have played homebrews like this before and unlimited shapechanging into a CR 0 critter wasn't broken or even very powerful.
My bad as I only shared this one trait. Like some of its previous edition iteration, my conversion doesn't give the hybrid form any unique abilities. It shares the ability with its animal form to communicate with mundane animals of its animal type.
They don't need any unique abilities, but you do need to spell out what they can and can't do.

I'd leave in speech with humanoids but give them better senses (ie darkvision, scent) myself.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
If they're out of uses, they're stuck?
Yes.

FWIW, I have played homebrews like this before and unlimited shapechanging into a CR 0 critter wasn't broken or even very powerful.
Interestingly, the 4e version of the hengeyokai made this an at-will ability, so there's some precedence.

They don't need any unique abilities, but you do need to spell out what they can and can't do.
True.
I'd leave in speech with humanoids but give them better senses (ie darkvision, scent) myself.
That's a neat idea.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Here's what I've done thus far. I'm still uncertain whether to make the transformation at-will (like it was in 4e), whether the hybrid form really needs to gain anything unique, or whether the spellcasting bit is too much (I hope not, because it reinforces the shapeshifting theme of the legends).

Hengeyōkai​

Hengeyōkai is a collective term for several races of intelligent, shapeshifting animals. The most common hengeyōkai races include badger, carp, cat, crab, crane, dog, hare, monkey, raccoon dog, rat, and sparrow. Posited by some scholars to have originated as fey spirits that fled the Feywild long ago, hengeyōkai are common to the lands of Kara-Tur.

Viewed as carefree pranksters or duplicitous trickster spirits by outsiders, hengeyōkai tend to see life as being as changeable and mutable as their physical form and often find themselves at odds with more hidebound and traditionalist-minded individuals. Most hengeyōkai gravitate towards the fringes of human-settled lands where they can easily go unseen and unnoticed by others. The more sociable, and usually more daring, make hidden communities within the midst of urban centers—showing only their human face to strangers while maintaining their true identity in private.

Even still, hengeyōkai are quite capable of putting down roots and forging deep connections. Tales tell of deep friendships causing a hengeyōkai to take on the role of the protector of a family or small community after they have outlived their friend. Or, conversely, a hengeyōkai spurned likewise holding a grudge for centuries, taking their frustrations out on the descendants of their ire.

Hengeyōkai can live to be over 700 years old. It is said that some races of hengeyōkai grow another tail for each century they live, but this isn’t universal.

Hengeyōkai Traits​

As a hengeyōkai, you have the following racial traits.

Creature Type. You are a Fey.

Size. You are Medium or Small. You choose the size.

Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.

Animal Form. Choose an animal form when you select this race: badger, carp, cat, crab, crane, dog, fox, hare, monkey, raccoon dog, rat, or sparrow.

Fey Trickery. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the disguise self spell. Starting at 5th level, you can also cast the alter self spell. Once you cast either of these spells with this trait, you can't cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast these spells using spell slots you have of the appropriate level.

Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells when you cast them with this trait (choose when you select this race).

Language of Beasts. While in your animal or hybrid form, you can communicate with beasts of your animal form’s type. In human form, you can understand the communication of such beasts, but cannot communicate with them.

Nature’s Mask. As an action, you can change between your human, Tiny animal, or hybrid form. The new form lasts until you change forms again. Your statistics, other than your size, are the same in each form. While you are in human or animal form, other creatures can attempt to discern your true nature by making a DC 18 Wisdom (Insight). You revert to your hybrid form if you die.

While in animal form, you can’t cast spells, and your ability to speak (except to communicate with other animals of your type) or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying in Humanoid form melds into the animal form. You can't activate, use, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of your equipment.

You gain the following benefits while in your animal form.

Badger: You gain a burrow speed equal to half your speed.

Carp, Crab: You gain a swim speed equal to your speed, and then your land speed becomes 5 ft. You can breathe underwater.

Cat, Monkey, Raccoon Dog, Rat: You gain a climb speed equal to half your speed.

Crane, Sparrow: Your land speed becomes 5 ft., and you gain a fly speed of 30 ft.

Dog, Fox, Hare: Your speed increases by 10 ft.

You can use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Looks okay, the spells arent unbalancing but Personally I would allow full speed in animal forms - it makes no sense to me for a monkey or cat to only have a 15 climb speed, when sparrows can fly at 30 and dogs and foxes get run 40.
 

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