D&D 5E Turning Aasimar, Tiefling, Warforged, Shifter and similar races into multiclass templates that add onto "base" race instead of being separate race.

Horwath

Hero
Right now these mentioned races are all somewhat human-centric, and while you can say that your aasimar is a dwarf based or orc based, there is no real difference(outside aasimar sub-races) between aasimars of various humanoids.

In 3.5e many of these races were "balanced" with level adjustments, but that is a no go in 5e and that is a good thing.

But, maybe we could make those races similar like "paragon race" from 3.5e Unearthed Arcana book.
You would get your Aasimar features and still have all features of your base race. At a cost of one level "multiclassing"

You would get your any humanoid race, and have it get it's normal 1st level in a class. A normal 1st level character.
Then at 2nd level(or any level after if you want to put it in the story differently), you would take a multiclass level of that advanced race template.

2nd level could be explained as those celestial/infernal/lycanthropy genes express only after reaching adulthood(or maybe even later, if it fits your story better).
And making warforged can be simply transfering adults mind into a new semi-mechanical body.

At that level you would get 1 HP plus your Con mod and one HD of healing worth 1+Con mod.
Health gain is low as "special features" will be powerful.

Aasimar:
gain +1 to Cha or Wis(or any ability if using Tasha's options)
Gain all abilities Aasimar normally get's.
Darkvision if 60ft or +30ft if base race has it.

Aasimar "class" level would count to your total levels as normal multiclass, that is 4th level wizard, 1st level Aasimar would be 5th level character with +3 proficiency bonus.


Same would apply to Tiefling, Warfoged, Shifter and similar races.
 

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Right now these mentioned races are all somewhat human-centric, and while you can say that your aasimar is a dwarf based or orc based, there is no real difference(outside aasimar sub-races) between aasimars of various humanoids.
Which of those races incorporate Human racial abilities to the point that you can tell they use the human as base stock?
 



Remathilis

Legend
Two things:

1.) Lineage (as shown in Van Richten's) seems the cleanest way to do this without making certain combos OP. Planetouched (aasimar, tiefling) or half-monstrous (shifter, changing) seem like good candidates for this.

2.) Disagree on Warforged though. They are "human" insofar as that have a traditional humanoid body (head, two arms, two legs) but by that generic description, elves or orcs could be as well. (There are literal half-human variants of both). I can see their being a small variant of Warforged, but their is no need for a separate dwarf Warforged, gnome Warforged, tabaxi Warforged, etc.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Not really sure, at least not with the warforged.
Also, as Remathilis mentioned, by that logic elves or gnomes would be human variants too.
 


NotAYakk

Legend
Note I'd have no problem with this having size based HD.

In fact, I'm giving everyone a sized based HD (powerful build and dwarves get a d10) and a feat at level 1. (The in)tention is about a level's worth of extra power

Making a "variant race" package that replaces the feat would work. Or a "lineage feat" you can only get at level 1.

Want to be a warforged? Take "warorged rebuild". Alternatively, you could write "half X" feats for each standard race; then a human shaped warforged would be warforged "half human". Might fit mechanically better?
 


NotAYakk

Legend
You know, we could even go further than this.

Right now a PC has a set of class levels. What if PCs had a set of "heritage levels" that you started with at level 1, before you started gaining class levels?

There is the balance concern that someone whose heritage is "dragon and heir of bahmut" should, logically, get more power from that heritage than someone whose heritage is "human dock worker".

And the idea of "stapling on" class levels as if it was perfectly additive was shown to not work very well in 3e.

5e's model where levels are roughly linear in power impact might work better than 3es with similar mechanics than 3e did.
 

pnewman

Adventurer
"Warforged Rebuild" just means that after the crash a secret government agency put 6 million dollars worth of parts in you, rebuilding you better, stronger, faster. It fits in some fantasy settings, but not in ones that don't have magic as technology (Eberron) or gothic horror body modification (Ravenloft).
 

That sounds as monster template class: half-golem, planetouched, half-dragon, weretouched...

Maybe the 6th Ed. will add something like the option of "upgrade" (social) background with more (no-combat or magic) feats or the a "monstertouched second background".
 

I know Pathfinder 2E does something like this. You get to pick your primary race such as Human, and then pick a subrace like Half Elf, Half Orc, Tiefling, or Normal Human From Frozen Bad Place.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
If i were to implement template modifiers for some of these species i’d rather most of the features were active from the word go rather than suddenly kicking in at higher levels, if i play a dwarf tiefling i want to be a dwarf tiefling and not a dwarf who spontaneously turned red and grew a tail and horns
As for the actual implementation each species template would have their list of traits, about 8 maybe? You get 3 for free and 6 maximum, beyond the initial 3 you have to start swapping out traits and features from your original race, representing a genetic mutual exclusivity

This came out more as building ‘half races’ rather than ‘X based Y(dwarf based tiefling)’, oh well.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
LA was less a balancing mechanism and more a punishment for wanting to play something 'weird' back in the day. And IMO, race levels are just a more annoying 'you have to wait until level 3 to be who your character is' problem with subclasses.

Ths issue is that species abilities just don't hack it vs class abilities. Maybe give everyone a feat at level 1 and make the 'templates' cost a feat?
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
I know Pathfinder 2E does something like this. You get to pick your primary race such as Human, and then pick a subrace like Half Elf, Half Orc, Tiefling, or Normal Human From Frozen Bad Place.
While I love the idea that PF2e did, I don’t like the execution as it oddly felt restrictive. That being said, it could’ve just been that the edition was still new, so they only focused on core races.

While culturally, an elf is unlikely to mate with an orc or a dwarf, I’d still like for it to be mechanically possible.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
LA was less a balancing mechanism and more a punishment for wanting to play something 'weird' back in the day.
In 3e at least usually it was more because every dev seemed to overvalue Strength as an attribute and really wanted to make sure that if you chose a high Strength race you'd have to earn your way up to it. That system then got applied to every race in the interested of fairness or something. In earlier editions though I think you're right - all sorts of limits on attributes or classes for anything non-human were there to discourage folks from playing anything but a human.

(3e was full of areas in their design where they really, really seemed to think that every extra +1 on your melee to hit was going to break the game. Meanwhile spellcasters had no real limits put on them once they hit a certain level - it was almost like the devs were really, really interested in playtesting the melee combat engine really heavily and not so interested in the rest of the game).
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think I’d rather go with aasimar, tiefling, half-orc, half-elf* and other “half-human” races being sub races for human. You’d have to move some things around for what qualities apply to the base human race vs. what the subs get, but it would be an interesting way to handle certain races.

I wouldn’t put warforged (as per their race background for Eberron) as a human sub race, but I would like to see Warforged get sub races back, along with some non-eberron versions.

*Half-elf would also then be a sub race for elf as well.
 

Horwath

Hero
LA was less a balancing mechanism and more a punishment for wanting to play something 'weird' back in the day. And IMO, race levels are just a more annoying 'you have to wait until level 3 to be who your character is' problem with subclasses.

Ths issue is that species abilities just don't hack it vs class abilities. Maybe give everyone a feat at level 1 and make the 'templates' cost a feat?
That is certainly now a good possibility with latest UA that gives bonus feats at levels 1&4.

We could add all racial feats to the "bonus" feat list and add feats that would work as an template.
 


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