Player wants to play a Star Elf, any balance concerns?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
A player in my new campaign wants to play a star elf. Generally, I try to say yes to whatever race/class the players want to play--at least in *this* campaign.

But I'm leery of homebrew and non-official races and classes.

There is a homebrew star-elf option in D&D Beyond which is basically what I've seen online for older edition Forgotten Realms star elves. I've posted it below.

My main concern is the "Otherworldly Touch" ability. Being able to turn any melee weapon into a magical weapon as a bonus action from level 1 seems over powered for 5e.

Would you allow this in your 5e game? Would you allow it with modification? (If so, what modifications?)

I'm thinking of allowing otherworldly touch, but making it a once-per-long-rest ability.


Star Elf



Elf Subrace

Star or Twilight elves live in outer realms. The plane was created millennia before and has been expanding ever since until it reached its present size. They have extremely delicate skin seemingly made of stars, and silver, white or lavender hair. Their eyes tend to be silver, golden, grey or soft tints of lavender and violet.

Star Elf Traits

Ability Score Increase

Your Charisma or Wisdom score increases by 1.

Star Elf Weapon Training

You have proficiency with the dart, morningstar, rapier, and shortbow.

Otherworldy Touch

As a bonus action, you can confer your otherworldly touch to one melee weapon. This object becomes magical if it wasn't already, and you may use your Charisma for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon. This effect lasts for 1 minute, or until you are no longer wielding the weapon.

Insightful

You are proficient in the Insight skill and you can add your proficiency bonus to Investigation checks made to discern illusions.





 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Looks fine to me (although I tend to feel that 5e is really only loosely balanced).

Magic weapon at level 1 isn't a major power up to me; how may enemies do you bump into with magic weapon resistance between levels 1-4? (Most abilities that are "act like a magical weapon" come online at levels 5-6.) I mean, you can already do that with shillelagh at level 1.

Speaking of shillelagh, that's pretty much what the racial ability is, just usable with all weapons and with Cha. High elves get a choice of any wizard cantrip, star elves get one specific cantrip, that's a little stronger. Considering getting Cha to attack is something any character can do with a one-level dip in Hexblade, I'd rather them just use a racial ability and get on with the slightly cheesy flavor. :)

Since I always feel the need to argue with myself, I would point out that this racial ability does enable the combination of Elven Accuracy and Great Weapon Master without the need to dip hexblade, which is a pretty good combo!
 

AmerginLiath

Villager
If you’re concerned, why not limit the Otherworldly Touch ability to Once per Short/Long Rest?

Alternately, you could play it like other racial abilities which improve over time at Level 1/3/5 — either gaining new abilities or simply (in this case) being once/long rest at 1st level, once/short rest at 3rd level, and at will at 5th level. That matches up fairly well with when characters are expected to find magic weapons but still gives the elf a benefit of being able to enchant things when needed (or to switch to a secondary weapon, such as a bow for ranged or a club to fight skeletons), without unbalancing things too much.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Here are my thoughts:

Ability Score Increase

Your Charisma or Wisdom score increases by 1.
Pick one. The subclass should not provide this choice. Sounds like it should be Charisma based on the ability below.

Star Elf Weapon Training

You have proficiency with the dart, morningstar, rapier, and shortbow.
Sure.

Otherworldy Touch

As a bonus action, you can confer your otherworldly touch to one melee weapon. This object becomes magical if it wasn't already, and you may use your Charisma for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon. This effect lasts for 1 minute, or until you are no longer wielding the weapon.
Charisma Shillelagh on any weapon is a bit much. It should be for the weapons provided by their weapon training only.

You are proficient in the Insight skill and you can add your proficiency bonus to Investigation checks made to discern illusions.
This is clunky. A limited Investigation proficiency is cumbersome. Also, other Elf subraces don't have extra skill proficiencies.


So:

+1 Cha
4 non-heavy weapon proficiencies: Dart, Morningstar, Rapier, Short Bow
Charisma Shillelagh for either Morningstar or Rapier (player's choice on each use)

Done.
 

Ganymede81

Villager
Yup, Otherworldly Touch is trash. I would be leery of any homebrew on D&D Beyond since it has very little curation. Virtually anything can be thrown up there.

Also, their fluff seems kinda slapdash.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I would exterminate this homebrew with extreme prejudice.

Also? It’s both cloying and OP. Like condensed milk.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
To be more expansive, other than my usual advice (kill it. Kill it dead. Kill it with fire.)- I would recommend asking the player what he really wants. The twilight vampire sparkly fluff? The insane charisma bonus with weapons? What?

That would probably guide the conversation.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
So:

+1 Cha
4 non-heavy weapon proficiencies: Dart, Morningstar, Rapier, Short Bow
Charisma Shillelagh for either Morningstar or Rapier (player's choice on each use)

Done.
Thanks, this is what I went with and presented to the player.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Aside from this being clearly OP, I wouldn't allow any homebrew that I hadn't already decided to incorporate into my setting.
 

aco175

Explorer
I don't think I would have a big problem with it. I try to say yes as well and try to figure out a way to make it playable. There could be a portal that brings him to the world or such. The ability should not be a big problem in my game since I tend to give out magical weapons starting around level 3 and there are not too many need magic weapons to hit monsters.
 

Seramus

Explorer
I would recommend Eladrin for a canon otherworldly +Charisma Elf.
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes Page 61.

You know, if Half Elf doesn't work for some reason.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I'm curious...was the player interested in playing a star elf as a concept, or using that particular set of mechanics?
 

the Jester

Legend
Does any other race give an at-will first level spell equivalent? I don't think so, and I think it's overpowered. This is on top of my general objection to race spam (adding race after race, or subrace after subrace, to a setting detracts from that setting's identity, in my judgment).
 

Satyrn

Villager
I'd change insightful to proficiency with Insight and advantage on Investigation checks to discern illusions. Not for balance reasons, but because the idea of getting proficiency in one aspect of a skill irrationally irks me. (And though I'd also normally be against racial features granting advantage on skill checks, this particular use is kinda more like a saving throw, and the gnome gets advantage on a bunch of those).

And if I was at all concerned about Otherworldly Touch I'd limit it either to 1) once per short rest, or 2) just to those star elf weapons, and I'd let the player choose which (and then all future star elfs would abide by that choice)

But my opinion of the star elf isn't that it's overpowered. It does feel unbalanced, though, in the way that nearly all its features lean into paladin.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Does any other race give an at-will first level spell equivalent? I don't think so, and I think it's overpowered. This is on top of my general objection to race spam (adding race after race, or subrace after subrace, to a setting detracts from that setting's identity, in my judgment).
I completely agree. Settings that have a little bit of everything...every race, every class and sub-class, every monster...lose any sense of identity or even coherence.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Speaking of shillelagh, that's pretty much what the racial ability is, just usable with all weapons and with Cha.
Except that it's lacking all of the direct and indirect limitations of that spell, such as being a druid.

I don't think there you will find a consensus anywhere that thinks that Shillelagh, improved for any weapon, would be a reasonable Paladin cantrip. A CHR focused front liner, a much more powerful framework then Druid for a melee spell.

Considering getting Cha to attack is something any character can do with a one-level dip in Hexblade, I'd rather them just use a racial ability and get on with the slightly cheesy flavor. :)
Yeah, we basically avoid paladins dipping hexblade at our tables because it's extra cheesy. Oh, and this is even more limburger because at least Hexblade is limited that it won't work with two handed weapons (without a 3 level dip and picking up pact of the blade).

In other words, this worse then what we already avoid at our tables because it's too cheesy. I'd tend to say that crosses the line for bringing in homebrew/3rd party.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Except that it's lacking all of the direct and indirect limitations of that spell, such as being a druid.

I don't think there you will find a consensus anywhere that thinks that Shillelagh, improved for any weapon, would be a reasonable Paladin cantrip. A CHR focused front liner, a much more powerful framework then Druid for a melee spell.
Sure. If it was being published by a reputable third-party publisher, I would probably comment that it's too strong for current community expectations. But I consider the boundaries for what should be published to be much stricter than something that would actually break a campaign. As I said in my first response, I consider the balance in 5e to be pretty loose.

Yeah, we basically avoid paladins dipping hexblade at our tables because it's extra cheesy. Oh, and this is even more limburger because at least Hexblade is limited that it won't work with two handed weapons (without a 3 level dip and picking up pact of the blade).

In other words, this worse then what we already avoid at our tables because it's too cheesy. I'd tend to say that crosses the line for bringing in homebrew/3rd party.
I personally feel that Hexblade 1/Paladin X or Sword Bard X don't break the game, so I don't think a racial ability that does something similar breaks the game either.

Granted, I'm well aware I'm in the minority in that I find stat-replacement mechanics to be fun and thematic, and tend to advocate for them. Prior to the publishing of Hexblade, I liked to see third-party material that had stat-replacement mechanics, but I always felt the need to point out that its inclusion was setting them up for a backlash, as it violated the standard 5e design rules. I was happy to see Hexblade be published and shift the Overton window for the publishing of those kind of mechanics in third-party material. But I know a lot of people see Hexblade as power-creep.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For those who are interested, the player read about the "star elf" or "twilight elf" in some Forgotten Realms book. He had no idea of the mechanics. I created a homebrew race in D&D Beyond based on the suggestions made by [MENTION=6748898]ad_hoc[/MENTION] , above. After that and some e-mail back and forth, he went with Eladrin instead.
 

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