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D&D 5E need to know the balance of a trait.


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MarkB

Legend
It depends on the mechanical implementation. Always-available flight is strong at low levels, but only middling later on - and easily achievable with magic items.

As for four arms, what do they let the character do, aside from not having to juggle items if they're a sword'n'board spellcaster?

Extra attacks? Dual-wielding polearms? Greatsword-and-shield?
 


In the past the thri-kreen was a playable race with four arms. The rules were basically you had no more actions, but you could hold more stuff. So, you could in theory fight sword and board one round and then two handed spear the next without sacrificing any actions to draw / stow gear.

For wings, you can look to the aarocroka (?).
 

It depends on the mechanical implementation. Always-available flight is strong at low levels, but only middling later on - and easily achievable with magic items.

As for four arms, what do they let the character do, aside from not having to juggle items if they're a sword'n'board spellcaster?

Extra attacks? Dual-wielding polearms? Greatsword-and-shield?
Depends on what you allow PCs to do with them.

(MarkB beat me to the punch and illustrated the point well.)
In the past the thri-kreen was a playable race with four arms. The rules were basically you had no more actions, but you could hold more stuff. So, you could in theory fight sword and board one round and then two handed spear the next without sacrificing any actions to draw / stow gear.

For wings, you can look to the aarocroka (?).
okay, assume I take that thri kreen rule what would it be then?
 


okay, assume I take that thri kreen rule what would it be then?
They have four hands but only 1 action, 1 move, 1 bonus action.
Two weapon fighting is allowed per twf rules, but they can not then also get the benefit of a shield until their next turn (when they do not then use TWF).

All this advantage gives them is a free object interaction, and unless the race is being built to abuse or break free object interactions, it won't affect play.
 

Or another way to think of it, they have 1 active primary hand and 1 inactive primary hand. Then 1 active primary offhand and 1 inactive offhand. In any given turn, they can use either primary or offhand hand as active, but they can not switch that until the start of their next turn (i.e. reactions must use the active hands). Shields or other items that have effects only have those effects if held in an active hand.
 

I would envision the race. Then balance it. If the race has four arms, then it has four arms. If it has wings, then it has wings. Write it so.

Then figure out how to make it balanced.
it is more I think both of those things are cool and could use either but which lets me have more stuff to bulk the rest of the race up with is in question as I know both would be interesting.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
okay, assume I take that thri kreen rule what would it be then?
One of the big real-world uses for Warcaster is to allow casting with hands full. So assume that having four hands that can hold more things is the equivalent of a feat. It's both slightly worse (it's a dedicated feat) and quite a bit better (you can wield a 2H weapon, a Shield, and still Cast or Grapple).

So look at variant Human or Custom Legacy in Tasha's, assume the feat is already used, and use that as a base. Perhaps hardcode some of the more variable choices in order to both give it a stronger theme and redunce flexibility a bit more with 4 arms being so good.

Flight on the other hand is quite good at low levels but only scales moderately. Take a look at the Aarakocra as a base and modify from there.
 

One of the big real-world uses for Warcaster is to allow casting with hands full. So assume that having four hands that can hold more things is the equivalent of a feat. It's both slightly worse (it's a dedicated feat) and quite a bit better (you can wield a 2H weapon, a Shield, and still Cast or Grapple).

So look at variant Human or Custom Legacy in Tasha's, assume the feat is already used, and use that as a base. Perhaps hardcode some of the more variable choices in order to both give it a stronger theme and redunce flexibility a bit more with 4 arms being so good.

Flight on the other hand is quite good at low levels but only scales moderately. Take a look at the Aarakocra as a base and modify from there.
okay, so which in your opinion would be easier to balance and still be interesting?
 

If the flight scales up rather than starting out at full potency, and you add some reasonable limits to the many-hands thing, you can make both traits pretty reasonably balanced. For example:

Flight: You possess wings that can give you flight, but it takes a lot of training and practice to do so effectively. You can fly 15 feet, at which point you must land on solid ground or begin falling.

Extra Arms: You are blessed with a second pair of arms. These arms are not as strong as your main arms, but can perform a variety of tasks while your main arms are occupied. You cannot benefit from holding a shield with them nor from attacking a weapon held in one of them, but you can perform gestures for spellcasting, draw or stow an item without dropping what you're holding in your main arms, or load a weapon with the loading property as a free action at the start of your turn.

Then make the expansions to these traits be half-feats, that improve the base trait to its full extent and give an appropriate +1 to a stat (e.g. I imagine the Sustained Flight feat should have +1 Dex and maybe +1 Str or +1 Con, while the Four-Arm Power feat should have +1 Str or +1 Con). Sustained Flight would let you fly overland indefinitely, and maybe carry a willing passenger or some other useful benefit, while Four-Arm Power would let you wield shields or weapons in your extra arms. Having to spend a feat to get full flight or greatsword+shield seems like a reasonably balanced combination, especially since feats are not always available and often saved for late in a character's career.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
This is Flight, sort of like Dragon Prince "mage-wings":

Flight: Your arms are wings. If you are not holding anything in your arms, you can expend an action to concentrate (as if on a spell) and gain a fly speed equal to your speed. If you spend an action to do anything but fly on your turn, or end your turn without spending an action, you start to fall 100' per round. While falling, attacks on you are at advantage, your attacks are at disadvantage, any saving throw you force is at advantage, your saving throws are at disadvantage, and you must succeed in a DC 25 concentration saving throw to cast a spell.

In addition, world-building wise, air spirits attack things which go more than 50' above the ground, unless you first manage to negotiate with the local spirits.

For arms, I think you can minimize restrictions:

Extra Arms: You can hold up to 4 items. If you make an attack with a weapon in two hands or more than one weapon on a given turn, any shield you are wielding does not provide a bonus to AC until the end of your next turn. You can interact with two objects instead of one on your turn without expending an action.

This gives you some combat advantages but nothing extreme. For example, a LS+PAM build could do off-turn reactions with the polearm, while keeping the shield bonus until they did so. They could also fire a hand crossbow while using a shield.
 



elaborate please?
Like you said previously you could have four arms or you could have wings, but you don't know about the balance.

I cannot conceive of a fantasy story you are telling where the creature has either arms or wings (some scifi yes). You aren't telling a story. You have no lore. So why would anyone want play this?
 

For me, when you present the race as an end product it will be more interesting and thought provoking if you come up with why they have these differences first and then determine the at-the-table mechanics.

So, why does this race have four arms? Were they created that way as a strong servitor race? Were they an uplifted insectoid race? Ameobas that developed a form of endoskeleton? That may inform how the mechanics represent having more than two arms as humans do. Or are they shapeshifters and having four arms is something they can morph into?

Multiple limbs, wings, special senses- there is nothing that is "broken" for representation in an RPG. Once you decide what you want, think about why it is there and then develop the mechanics to represent it in the game world.

What do you want? Tell us your vision about what your goal is and we can help you refine the mechanics according to 5e or whatever your current flavor of D&D is. (Or other system, I dare say.)
 
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Like you said previously you could have four arms or you could have wings, but you don't know about the balance.

I cannot conceive of a fantasy story you are telling where the creature has either arms or wings (some scifi yes). You aren't telling a story. You have no lore. So why would anyone want play this?
what story is told by elves having dark vision? I am trying to finalise the ideas of them the story flows from properties I am nearly done with universal cultural psychology but got to get the basic properties and get it all flowing together.
For me, when you present the race as an end product it will be more interesting and thought provoking if you come up with why they have these differences first and then determine the at-the-table mechanics.

So, why does this race have four arms? Were they created that way as a strong servitor race? Were they an uplifted insectoid race? Ameobas that developed a form of endoskeleton? That may inform how the mechanics represent having more than two arms as humans do. Or are they shapeshifters and having four arms is something they can morph into?

Multiple limbs, wings, special senses- there is nothing that is "broken" for representation in an RPG. Once you decide what you want, think about why it is there and then develop the mechanics to represent it in the game world.
I ask so my decisions can be resolved easily between two paths.
 

what story is told by elves having dark vision? I am trying to finalise the ideas of them the story flows from properties I am nearly done with universal cultural psychology but got to get the basic properties and get it all flowing together.

I ask so my decisions can be resolved easily between two paths.
Then I guess the answer to your original question is neither option is broken, and can be equally advantageous relatively speaking.

It's not that elves have a story because of darkvision. In fantasy fiction, elves are described as having sharper, more sensitive vision than humans. This is in part from their greater vitality and mystical nature. The elvish story itself implies darkvision, and thus the special sense is added to their package to represent them at the table better.
 

A possible package for a flyer could be:
  • Fly speed of 50
  • Walk speed of 25
  • One other thing; a natural weapon or advantage on Search checks, perhaps.

A possible package for a 4-armed could be:
  • Walk speed of 30
  • Extra pair of limbs; the character can use the extra pair of limbs as either arms or legs. At the beginning of the round choose how they will function. As legs- the character has a movement of 40. Anything carried in the extra limbs is dropped and left behind unless an action is used to stow the gear. As arms- the character can carry more equipment if desired, such as a lantern, rope, or other gear. If used to carry weapons and shield the character can choose at the beginning of the round their fighting style which lasts until the beginning of the next round. Thus, if carrying a spear, sword, and shield the player must decide at the beginning of the round if the character is using the sword and shield (gaining the AC bonus for the shield) or just the two-handed spear (gaining the advantages of reach). As they are able to carry the gear, there is no time required to draw, ready, or stow the gear once it has been grasped.
  • Tool use proficiency
  • One other minor thing

This doesn't include the stat bonuses, which are as standard.
 

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