5E Second Edition Reverse Engineered D&D 5e race design and over 40 example races

Coronoides

Villager
After another year of play-testing and numerous changes and fixes I present a new edition of the Race Creation rules!
After a couple of years of work I ask the following as a courtesy. You may use this to create races for publication if I am credited as “Additional game design by Karl David Brown”. I expect no other payment.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/iwks50klitixudx/5e unusual races point build 200.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1pyghoqohmd7t0r/5e race design 27.xlsx?dl=0

FAQ
Some comments come up where- ever this is posted. Here is some text from the article:

How is this different?
So how is this article different? In Part 2 I have analysed all the race and feat traits in the PHB, Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (EEPC) and then reverse engineered the system Wizards of the Coast uses in-house to create PC races. There may be differences in some of the relative point values presented here but otherwise this is very close to what WOTC uses. This provides a basis beyond intuition to evaluate races and greater creative freedom than using existing races as templates. I’m confident most of the races produced by this process will be balanced.

Has this been play-tested?
This project began in October 2014. In the year since then the system has been critiqued and used during the construction, building example races, and beta release phases through forums at WOTC, RPG.net, RPG Geek, and Enworld. Additionally there has been hundreds of player/hours of live testing at Gatekeeper Games Melbourne Australia.


But there is no system!
Some people do not think WOTC has a secret in-house system for me to reverse engineer. I believe that there is a system because WOTC is investing millions based on detailed math created and maintained by a team that is likely to have a shifting membership over several years, WOTC is going to want records to ensure the continuity of future products. Probably information gleaned from practical play concerns etc. are fed back into the evolving document at WOTC. Therefore what I have reverse-engineered is a ‘snapshot’ of that evolving document taken at the time the EEPC was released. My confidence is buoyed by my work predicting that some traits were zero point before the release of Waterborne Unearthed Arcana wherein the designer's confirmed they used zero point traits which they call 'ribbons'. Furthermore the beta version accurately priced most of the EEPC races when that document was released.

Why do you assume that all canon races are of equal value?
I make this assumption for two reasons.
Firstly, I believe WOTC would intend to design races that are equal at the table. This view is supported by press releases and communications with fans wherein WOTC consistently reflects the fan-base’s obsession with ‘balance’. As fans we can argue if they succeeded forever. This issue is compounded because every group plays differently, even if the rules are identical the mix of challenges and how they are presented varies from group to group.
Secondly, the assumption makes it possible to replace most guesswork with math. Using this assumption I remove much of the ‘why’ of judgment, and judgment is really just another word for guessing; guessing what WOTC’s designers were thinking. By making this one assumption I can avoid hundreds of other judgment calls (guesses). Where possible I limit guesswork by using math. If I do not make this assumption the math CANNOT be done and I am reduced to guessing the values of every trait like everyone else then arguing the relative merits of traits qualitatively and endlessly like everyone else.
If I assume that canon races are not worth the same amount of points my project cannot be done at all.



Why did I price this or that trait the way I did?
Your experience and reasoning may lead you to believe that a particular trait is more or less useful in play than my pricing would indicate. The problem is everyone has differing opinions about these relative values. This is why I use math to remove as much of my own judgment as possible, give you a rating of confidence in evidence, and list the page numbers for the evidence I used for each trait. After all that I still tell you to change anything you don’t agree with.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
After another year of play-testing and numerous changes and fixes I present a new edition of the Race Creation rules!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/iwks50klitixudx/5e unusual races point build 200.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1pyghoqohmd7t0r/5e race design 27.xlsx?dl=0

FAQ
Some comments come up where- ever this is posted. Here is some text from the article:

How is this different?
So how is this article different? In Part 2 I have analysed all the race and feat traits in the PHB, Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), and Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (EEPC) and then reverse engineered the system Wizards of the Coast uses in-house to create PC races. There may be differences in some of the relative point values presented here but otherwise this is very close to what WOTC uses. This provides a basis beyond intuition to evaluate races and greater creative freedom than using existing races as templates. I’m confident most of the races produced by this process will be balanced.

Has this been play-tested?
This project began in October 2014. In the year since then the system has been critiqued and used during the construction, building example races, and beta release phases through forums at WOTC, RPG.net, RPG Geek, and Enworld. Additionally there has been hundreds of player/hours of live testing at Gatekeeper Games Melbourne Australia.


But there is no system!
Some people do not think WOTC has a secret in-house system for me to reverse engineer. I believe that there is a system because WOTC is investing millions based on detailed math created and maintained by a team that is likely to have a shifting membership over several years, WOTC is going to want records to ensure the continuity of future products. Probably information gleaned from practical play concerns etc. are fed back into the evolving document at WOTC. Therefore what I have reverse-engineered is a ‘snapshot’ of that evolving document taken at the time the EEPC was released. My confidence is buoyed by my work predicting that some traits were zero point before the release of Waterborne Unearthed Arcana wherein the designer's confirmed they used zero point traits which they call 'ribbons'. Furthermore the beta version accurately priced most of the EEPC races when that document was released.

Why do you assume that all canon races are of equal value?
I make this assumption for two reasons.
Firstly, I believe WOTC would intend to design races that are equal at the table. This view is supported by press releases and communications with fans wherein WOTC consistently reflects the fan-base’s obsession with ‘balance’. As fans we can argue if they succeeded forever. This issue is compounded because every group plays differently, even if the rules are identical the mix of challenges and how they are presented varies from group to group.
Secondly, the assumption makes it possible to replace most guesswork with math. Using this assumption I remove much of the ‘why’ of judgment, and judgment is really just another word for guessing; guessing what WOTC’s designers were thinking. By making this one assumption I can avoid hundreds of other judgment calls (guesses). Where possible I limit guesswork by using math. If I do not make this assumption the math CANNOT be done and I am reduced to guessing the values of every trait like everyone else then arguing the relative merits of traits qualitatively and endlessly like everyone else.
If I assume that canon races are not worth the same amount of points my project cannot be done at all.



Why did I price this or that trait the way I did?
Your experience and reasoning may lead you to believe that a particular trait is more or less useful in play than my pricing would indicate. The problem is everyone has differing opinions about these relative values. This is why I use math to remove as much of my own judgment as possible, give you a rating of confidence in evidence, and list the page numbers for the evidence I used for each trait. After all that I still tell you to change anything you don’t agree with.

Seems legit, dude; shy post this here, instead of on the DMs Guild for the world to see...?
 

Parmandur

Legend
Having read through this, I think you male a very compelling case that 5E is actually a point buy system disguised; very good work!
 

Coronoides

Villager
I could not agree more.
"...This view is supported by press releases and communications with fans wherein WOTC consistently reflects the fan-base’s obsession with ‘balance’. As fans we can argue if they succeeded
forever. This issue is compounded because every group plays differently, even if the rules are identical the mix of challenges and how they are presented varies from group to group."




 

Coronoides

Villager
Had a bit of a look.Looks like they are happy with people using races they own as PC races. The appearance of most of what I saw was very professional. Great artwork. I'll be skipped over a lot on appearance alone. Will continue investigations.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Had a bit of a look.Looks like they are happy with people using races they own as PC races. The appearance of most of what I saw was very professional. Great artwork. I'll be skipped over a lot on appearance alone. Will continue investigations.

Well, WotC on the DMs Guild has provided free artwork for use as assets in PDFs on the DMs Guild; with what you have put together mathematically, which is awesome, and some of that art, cleaned up a bit...could be a very solid contribution to the community.
 

Parmandur

Legend
[MENTION=6801453]Coronoides[/MENTION] have you had a chance to analyze the Volos Guide races, see how they pine up by your model? There is some controversy over Kobolds and Orcs have -2 attributes, specifically...
 

Coronoides

Villager
Not yet. Only the limited edition special cover has been released in my country. I'm glad to hear my systems prediction that WOTC would release races with minus attributes has come true.
 

Duan'duliir

Devil of Chance
Australia's getting the limited edition cover? Cool. Thought that'd be america only.

On topic, based on some of the online leaks I've seen, I doubt that all of the races would have the 11.5-12.5 points that you define as balanced.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Australia's getting the limited edition cover? Cool. Thought that'd be america only.

On topic, based on some of the online leaks I've seen, I doubt that all of the races would have the 11.5-12.5 points that you define as balanced.

On the contrary, I think the Volo's races enhance the argument that there is a secret point-buy system at work, particularly with things like the Lizardfolk having a subclass feature, namely the Natural Armor class of 13+Dex. The races with negatives gain significant advantages, as well...
 

Parmandur

Legend
Not yet. Only the limited edition special cover has been released in my country. I'm glad to hear my systems prediction that WOTC would release races with minus attributes has come true.

Do let us know your thoughts when you have a chance, the stats are available online...
 

Duan'duliir

Devil of Chance
On the contrary, I think the Volo's races enhance the argument that there is a secret point-buy system at work, particularly with things like the Lizardfolk having a subclass feature, namely the Natural Armor class of 13+Dex. The races with negatives gain significant advantages, as well...
While I can see where you're coming from, I'd like to point you to the Orc. Trading the Brutal Critical and Relentless Endurance traits for a -2 Int, Powerful Build, and Aggressive does not make 12 points. It makes 7. Unless mechanical weight is assigned to Powerful Build, and a negative modifier has less weight than a positive one (e.g. -1, +2 respectively).

The Yuan-Ti Pureblood is opposite end of the spectrum - 28.5 points.
 

Parmandur

Legend
While I can see where you're coming from, I'd like to point you to the Orc. Trading the Brutal Critical and Relentless Endurance traits for a -2 Int, Powerful Build, and Aggressive does not make 12 points. It makes 7. Unless mechanical weight is assigned to Powerful Build, and a negative modifier has less weight than a positive one (e.g. -1, +2 respectively).

The Yuan-Ti Pureblood is opposite end of the spectrum - 28.5 points.
Powerful Build, based on the four examples now on hand, is likely not a zero point feature, and it seems probable an ability negative is not weighted identically to a bonus; hence the Orc looks OK to me.

Yuan-Ti doesn't seem that bad, considering most of their stuff is probably ribbons (BFF with snakes?).
 

Parmandur

Legend
Crawford did say in the Gameholecon panel that the Monstrous races were perfectly balanced for Organized Play against the other options; it seems to me that the Yian-Ti is being overrated due to having a large number of minor abilities...
 

Duan'duliir

Devil of Chance
Yuan-Ti doesn't seem that bad, considering most of their stuff is probably ribbons (BFF with snakes?).
Crawford did say in the Gameholecon panel that the Monstrous races were perfectly balanced for Organized Play against the other options; it seems to me that the Yian-Ti is being overrated due to having a large number of minor abilities...

+3 in ability scores (+6 pts)
+2 cantrips (treating AF snakes only as a cantrip) (+4 pts)
+1 spell (noncombat @ same level) (+0 pts) - (I feel like I'm being generous with treating suggestion as non-combat, as it definitely has combat uses: "drop your sword", etc.)
+1 Magic Resistance (+18 pts)
+1 damage resist (+0.5 pts)

And thats me having forgotten the condition resistance, if thats worth anything.

Powerful Build, based on the four examples now on hand, is likely not a zero point feature, and it seems probable an ability negative is not weighted identically to a bonus; hence the Orc looks OK to me.
Even if a negative is only worth -1, that would leave powerful build being 4 points, which would requre a reanalysis of the goliath. I'm rushing this post as I've a test soon and will be leaving for it soon, but when I get back, I'll see if I can have a look at the specifics of it
 
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Duan'duliir

Devil of Chance
Ok, so I've run the numbers over the current system, and (assuming a -ASI is only -1, not -2 pt) I have the following numbers:

[SBLOCK="Race Points"]Aasimar: 12.5 (Assuming each transformation is a 2nd level spell, and stating their heal as a damaging power taken from the average damage at average level (10.5 at 11))

Firbolg: 9.25 (2 noncombat spells as same level, then hidden step as a noncombat spell (invis) two levels early)

Kenku: 12 - The most balanced race in the book

Lizardfolk: 20 (Hungry jaws as damaging power for average damage and counting thp as damage, assuming a con mod of +3)

Tabaxi: 15.25 (That speed boost is 60 feet half the time, assuming no ability bumping speed, but if you have an ability to dash as bonus action that is a speed of 60 + 60 + 60 in one turn then 0 the next (average 90), which once your speed increases, shoots ahead of not having this ability)

Triton: 20 (3 combat spells at same level wizard gets is 12 alone)

Bugbear: 9.75 (assuming no weight on PB, treating it as reach 10 1/2 of the time)

Goblin: 13.75 (Fury of the Small - Damaging power, same calculation as Aasimar heal but 1/short. range is wonky (literally any range), so gave them benefit of the doubt and said range 5 feet).

Hobgoblin: 18.5 (Save face as a combat spell equal level, 1/short or long rest)

Kobold: 4 (Grovel, Cower & Beg same as Save face)

Orc: 8 (again, negative ASI taken as -1 point, not -2 points, same as kobold)

Yuan-ti Pureblood: 28.5 (still)[/SBLOCK]
This is an average of 14.3 points under Coronoides' system. Bugbear, Firbolg, and Orc are all under by 2.25, 2.75, and 4 respectively, so I'd estimate that Powerful build is 2.5, and estimate that a negative ability score is worth nothing, which would bring Bugbear up to 12.25, Firbolg up to 11.75, Orc up to 11.5, and Kobold up to 5. Grovel, Cower & Beg may be worth more than I gave it credit for.
 
[MENTION=6801453]Coronoides[/MENTION] Amazing work! :)

I decided to take your system for a spin and create a Gith race, with Githyanki and Githzerai sub-races.

To begin with, I looked at the MM and realized that with their innate spellcasting trait, the PHB Tiefling's Infernal Legacy is a good model for level-delaying innate spells.

Then I looked at your take on the Githzerai in the PDF.

[SECTION]GITHZERAI
**1/2 Medium humanoid (gith) Speed 30
Languages: Common and Gith
Dex+1[3-20}, Int+1{3-20} (P 4).
Traits:
Insight skill (P 2)
Mage hand at will (X 2)
Psychic strike +1d8 psychic damage to unarmed attacks, at 5th level this is raised to +2d8 psychic damage (I 4.5).
Total 12.5
Lesser Traits 3: at 3rd level Featherfall and Jump both 3 uses replenished by a long rest. At 5th level See Invisibility 3 uses replenished by a long rest.[/SECTION]

Comparing your "lesser traits" (worth no points in the point-buy system) to the Tiefling's Infernal Legacy (which you value at 3.5 pts), however, it looks really wonky.

[SECTION]Infernal Legacy.You know the thaumaturgy cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the hellish rebuke spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.[/SECTION]

As near as I can tell you're somehow making the determination that non-combat spells are worth NO points (irrespective of how many are granted or how often you can use them). Is that where you're coming from? Could you walk me through your reasoning here?

I would assume that both featherfall and jump usable 3x/day roughly equates to hellish rebuke (at 2nd level) 1x/day.

----------

Something like this for a Githzerai is what I'm pondering...

[SECTION]Githzerai
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1. Your Wisdom score increases by 1. [2 + 2 = 4 pts]
Innate Spellcasting (Psionics). You can innately cast mage hand at-will without components, and the hand is invisible. At 3rd level, you can cast shield once per long rest. At 4th level, you can cast feather fall and jump three times per long rest each. At 5th level you can cast see invisibility once per long rest. Your innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom. [2 + 3.5 + 0 + 0 = 5.5 pts]
Tower of Iron Will. At 4th level, gain proficiency in one of the following saving throws of your choice: Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. [2 pts][/SECTION]

While this totals 11.5 points (out of total 12) using your system, it seems like completely discounting featherfall / jump and see invisibility in the point buy is a mistake.

----------

EDIT: Also, I'm starting to notice what seem like errors in your point-buy system. For example, on the traits table you value Fiendish Blessing at 1 point.

[SECTION]Fiendish Blessing: The AC of the cambion includes its Charisma bonus (+3)[/SECTION]

Whereas a Natural Armor of 13 + DEX you value at 6 points.

Clearly there is a major discrepancy.
 
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