D&D 5E Troll PC race experiment

JEB

Legend
EDIT: The latest is Version 3, further down in the thread. Version 2 is here.

Following in the footsteps of my mind flayer PC race experiment (based on ideas in this old blog post), trying a second feat-based monster-race build, the troll. As with the mind flayer, feedback is appreciated.

Troll Traits
Ability Score Increase.
Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Strength score increases by 1. [If you are using post-Tasha's guidelines, assign the +2 and +1 wherever you wish.]
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base 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 can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Claws. Your claws are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with your claws, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
Natural Armor. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Regeneration. You regain 1 hit point every 10 minutes, provided that you have at least 1 hit point. If you take acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function until another 10 minutes has passed. You regain 2 hit points at 6th level, 3 hit points at 11th, and 4 hit points at 16th level.

Troll Feats

Trollish Stature

Prerequisite: 8th Level, Troll
  • Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Your Powerful Build trait is replaced by the Large Stature trait. Your size is Large.
  • Increase the damage inflicted by your Claws trait to 2d6 + your Strength modifier.
Trollish Fortitude
Prerequisite: 8th Level, Troll
  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Your Regeneration trait now allows you to regain hit points every minute. If you take acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function until another minute has passed.
  • You gain the Bite trait. Your fanged maw is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with your bite, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
Greater Trollish Fortitude
Prerequisite: 12th Level, Troll, Trollish Fortitude feat
  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Increase your Natural Armor to AC 14 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Your Regeneration trait now allows you to restore severed body parts. Your severed body members (fingers, legs, and so on) are restored after a short or long rest. If you have the severed part and hold it to the stump, your Regeneration instantaneously causes the limb to knit to the stump.
Superior Trollish Fortitude
Prerequisite: 16th Level, Troll, Greater Trollish Fortitude feat
  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Your Regeneration trait now allows you to regain hit points at the start of your turn. If you take acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function until the beginning of your next turn.
  • If you start your turn with 0 hit points and can't use your Regeneration trait, you must succeed on three death saving throws before your Regeneration trait can function again.
Design notes
  • Keen Senses is copied from the Shifter.
  • Natural Armor is copied from the Lizardfolk. Although Monster Manual trolls have 14 + Dex natural armor, this was scaled down slightly to be appropriate for a starting character.
  • Powerful Build is copied from the Firbolg.
  • Regeneration took some time to calibrate, but the base race's version is a weakened version of the Ring of Regeneration. The Ring of Regeneration is assumed to be equivalent to a 7th level spell (as a very rare item, but also because Regeneration is a 7th level spell), so the feats and increases were designed to stretch its capabilities out to a 12th level feat for something almost as good (the Ring doesn't deactivate in the face of acid or fire), and a 16th level feat for something superior to its capabilities. (The increased healing is based on the dragonborn's increased damage.) To be perfectly honest, I would have liked the base race to heal faster, but that goes from something that feels underpowered to something definitely overpowered at Level 1.
  • Trollish Stature is 8th level to avoid 2d6 natural weapon damage being available at too low a level. (I am aware I'm going outside the bounds of what Wizards is willing to accept by even permitting Large PCs.) As designed, you can also choose to keep your troll Medium size by skipping that feat.
  • Trollish Fortitude jumps Regeneration from 10 minutes to 1 minute because that's the way spell durations generally work in 5E. I added Bite because an upgrade to Regeneration alone didn't quite seem like enough. (I also assume faster healing also gives trolls more of an appetite...)
  • Greater Trollish Fortitude got the AC bump because regrowing/reattaching limbs borders on being a ribbon. (The regrowth is deliberately slower than the Regeneration spell, and matches the Monster Manual lore from Loathsome Limbs.) I could also see moving Bite here if the Regeneration upgrade is plenty for the prior feat.
  • Superior Trollish Fortitude is intended to give you 4 hp/turn healing.
  • This is twice now I've had to break my intended guideline of one feat per 3 CR (round up). Balancing with class features is hard.
EDIT: Fixed Superior Trollish Fortitude to account for death saves.
 
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Are trolls known for having particularly keen senses?

Regeneration is tricky. I would suggest that you work with Hit Dice instead. For example start with an ability to improve HP gained when spending HD and a bonus to death saves. Then a feat to allow spending a HD when taking the dodge action in combat etc. Get actual regeneration at maybe 12th level?

I would probably allow the troll feats to boost Str or Con.

If you're bringing in Large PCs, you need to specify what this does in terms of other rules interactions. Does a Large-sized greatsword inflict 4d6 damage, or 2d6 + 1d4 for example?
 

Trollish Stature
Prerequisite: 8th Level, Troll
  • Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Your Powerful Build trait is replaced by the Large Stature trait. Your size is Large.
  • Increase the damage inflicted by your Claws trait to 2d6 + your Strength modifier.
DMG: "Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it’s Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it’s Gargantuan. For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12."

Do you really think 4d6+5 base damage dealing, regenerating fighters from 8th level is in any way balanced?
 

JEB

Legend
Are trolls known for having particularly keen senses?
They have both Perception proficiency and the Keen Smell trait as monsters, so it seemed fair to represent that.

Regeneration is tricky. I would suggest that you work with Hit Dice instead. For example start with an ability to improve HP gained when spending HD and a bonus to death saves. Then a feat to allow spending a HD when taking the dodge action in combat etc. Get actual regeneration at maybe 12th level?
I do like your idea of working with Hit Dice, but I'm also wary of setting up a mechanic at low levels that doesn't naturally segue into properly trollish regeneration (which is represented by the Ring of Regeneration and Regeneration spell, and therefore is a thing PCs can eventually tap into).

Your suggested first feat is Xanathar's Dwarven Fortitude... which suggests a healing mechanic that Wizards considers balanced at Level 4. May be a worthwhile template to extrapolate to lower and higher levels...

I would probably allow the troll feats to boost Str or Con.
Yeah, that's probably fair. Was trying to keep Str with giant-ness and Con with regeneration, but that works too.
 

JEB

Legend
Do you really think 4d6+5 base damage dealing, regenerating fighters from 8th level is in any way balanced?
You missed a key part of that DMG passage:

"Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it’s Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it’s Gargantuan. For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12."

Large creatures don't automatically add an extra die of damage. (This is why the Trollish Stature feat increases their claw attack to 2d6.) They are capable of wielding weapons that are larger, and therefore do an extra die of damage. Therefore, a large PC would need to also acquire large-size weapons.

I could also see an argument that proficiency-wise, they should be treated as different from their normal-size counterparts as a hand axe is from a battleaxe. So your Large PC would also have to get proficiency with Large weapons, either individually or as a category (sounds like a job for another feat!).
 

JEB

Legend
If you're bringing in Large PCs, you need to specify what this does in terms of other rules interactions. Does a Large-sized greatsword inflict 4d6 damage, or 2d6 + 1d4 for example?
I'd keep it strictly limited to what the core rules say for Large creatures:
  • 10x10 foot space.
  • Can only squeeze through Medium or larger spaces.
  • Capable of wielding Large-sized weapons (which do double the dice, but are treated as a different weapon from their smaller counterpart).
  • Require Huge or larger mounts.
  • Powerful Build traits.
There would be other issues, such as needing custom equipment to match their size, but those are ultimately more RP things.

Definitely worth a sidebar, though, agreed.
 

I came across an OSR version of regeneration you might find interesting.

In short, the character regenerates 3 hp per minute (or whatever time interval you deem appropriate). They can do this for one minute per level per day. If they eat a day's worth of food they can regenerate for an additional time interval.

Also, they can eat practically any kind of meat. Each HD of creature is about three days worth of food. Naturally, they can eat at a amazing rate.
 
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dave2008

Legend
DMG: "Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it’s Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it’s Gargantuan. For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12."

Do you really think 4d6+5 base damage dealing, regenerating fighters from 8th level is in any way balanced?
How are you coming up with 4d6+5? The part you quoted listed the damage as 2d6 + mod. There was nothing that said this should be doubled. I believe the whole point of the 2d6 is that is the Large damage from the Medium damage of 1d6. Why would you every double that again?
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
I did something similar, but I used the trolls from the old Wormy comic from Dragon magazine, which were Medium sized. I gave them Regeneration equal to their proficiency bonus so it would scale with level. It didn't seem overpowered, and is easier to track than a different flat bonus that scales at particular levels, FWIW.
 

How are you coming up with 4d6+5? The part you quoted listed the damage as 2d6 + mod. There was nothing that said this should be doubled. I believe the whole point of the 2d6 is that is the Large damage from the Medium damage of 1d6. Why would you every double that again?

They can now use large weapons.

Large weapons deal double weapon dice damage. So our 8th level troll wields a large great sword which deals 4d6 base damage.
 

You missed a key part of that DMG passage:

"Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it’s Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it’s Gargantuan. For example, a Huge giant wielding an appropriately sized greataxe deals 3d12 slashing damage (plus its Strength bonus), instead of the normal 1d12."

Large creatures don't automatically add an extra die of damage. (This is why the Trollish Stature feat increases their claw attack to 2d6.) They are capable of wielding weapons that are larger, and therefore do an extra die of damage. Therefore, a large PC would need to also acquire large-size weapons.

I could also see an argument that proficiency-wise, they should be treated as different from their normal-size counterparts as a hand axe is from a battleaxe. So your Large PC would also have to get proficiency with Large weapons, either individually or as a category (sounds like a job for another feat!).

No, the proficiency is the same. If you're large and can use a greatsword, you can use a large greatsword.
 

dave2008

Legend
They can now use large weapons.

Large weapons deal double weapon dice damage. So our 8th level troll wields a large great sword which deals 4d6 base damage.
OK, your are not talking about the claw damage, which is specifically what the trait refers to. I get it now, but back to @JEB's point (I think), they would have to have access to a Large size greatsword to get the 4d6. That is not something that they can randomly or even intentionally get without help from the DM. So there are some breaks on it if it is an issue.
 

JEB

Legend
I came across an OSR version of regeneration you might find interesting.

In short, the character regenerates 3 hp per minute (or whatever time interval you deem appropriate). They can do this for one minute per level per day. If they eat a day's worth of food they can regenerate for an additional time interval.

Also, they can eat practically any kind of meat. Each HD of creature is about three days worth of food. Naturally, they can eat at a amazing rate.
I did something similar, but I used the trolls from the old Wormy comic from Dragon magazine, which were Medium sized. I gave them Regeneration equal to their proficiency bonus so it would scale with level. It didn't seem overpowered, and is easier to track than a different flat bonus that scales at particular levels, FWIW.
Interesting ideas, thanks! I'll keep them in mind.
 

JEB

Legend
No, the proficiency is the same. If you're large and can use a greatsword, you can use a large greatsword.
Says who? The core rules don't even address the idea that players can use Large weapons, so we're in new territory here. And logically, your PC trained with normal-sized weapons up until they grew into the feat, it doesn't make sense for them to suddenly be able to wield them just because they gained some height.

I should also note that even in the worst case scenario (a 4d6 Large greatsword), you wouldn't be able to use it until 8th level, at which point having a flame tongue (rare item) wouldn't be unheard of. And a flame tongue greatsword would do 4d6 damage...

Mind, I am wondering now if maybe Trollish Stature should be held back until 12th level. Definitely wouldn't be overpowered by that point.
 

dave2008

Legend
Says who? The core rules don't even address the idea that players can use Large weapons, so we're in new territory here. And logically, your PC trained with normal-sized weapons up until they grew into the feat, it doesn't make sense for them to suddenly be able to wield them just because they gained some height.

I should also note that even in the worst case scenario (a 4d6 Large greatsword), you wouldn't be able to use it until 8th level, at which point having a flame tongue (rare item) wouldn't be unheard of. And a flame tongue greatsword would do 4d6 damage...

Mind, I am wondering now if maybe Trollish Stature should be held back until 12th level. Definitely wouldn't be overpowered by that point.
There is still almost no RAW way to get a Large greatsword. There are no Large weapons in the PHB or DMG. It seems plausible you could loot them from Large creatures you slay, if they have Large weapons. Which would be easy enough to avoid as only a few creatures in the MM have Large weapons.
 

JEB

Legend
There is still almost no RAW way to get a Large greatsword. There are no Large weapons in the PHB or DMG. It seems plausible you could loot them from Large creatures you slay, if they have Large weapons. Which would be easy enough to avoid as only a few creatures in the MM have Large weapons.
As DM I'd likely also allow a Large PC to have Large weapons constructed for them, but they'd have to find a smith capable of doing so, and the cost would be proportionately higher than a normal-sized weapon. Honestly, it sounds like a neat adventure hook...
 

dave2008

Legend
As DM I'd likely also allow a Large PC to have Large weapons constructed for them, but they'd have to find a smith capable of doing so, and the cost would be proportionately higher than a normal-sized weapon. Honestly, it sounds like a neat adventure hook...
Me too, but I am also not worried by the extra damage.
 


vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
Mind, I am wondering now if maybe Trollish Stature should be held back until 12th level. Definitely wouldn't be overpowered by that point.
Personally, I'm inclined to to think that it's fine at 8th level. I just do not have a problem with it being there.
 

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