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Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Centaurs and Minotaurs

As a Dragonlance junkie, it’s interesting to see how they’ve pulled back the damage on the minotaur to make it more workable as a player race (I imagine that working with the Volo races gave them a better baseline). The Hybrid Nature mechanic is interesting here, especially given the number of Fey Ancestry races that we’ve seen so far (who aren’t both Humanoid and Fey), as well as the...

As a Dragonlance junkie, it’s interesting to see how they’ve pulled back the damage on the minotaur to make it more workable as a player race (I imagine that working with the Volo races gave them a better baseline). The Hybrid Nature mechanic is interesting here, especially given the number of Fey Ancestry races that we’ve seen so far (who aren’t both Humanoid and Fey), as well as the planar-descended races.
 

I could see racial feats (let's call them "racial awakening" so that it makes sense that you didn't have it at level 1) that give elves the fey type, dragonborn the dragon type, etc.

I suppose that would at least be a tolerable way of dealing with it. But without that...it's just offensive to any concept of setting integrity.

Also as a related beef, in the case of centaur, I don't like that a PC has dual type, but the monsters don't. Having multiple types is a part of your essence that affects how magic effects you. To say that just because you're an PC, you are subject to hold person and charm person and get the benefit of the beneficial humanoid spells (which I'm pretty sure exist, but aren't immediately coming to mind) is way more annoying to me than saying that the centaur in the MM gets unlimited charges because it is an elite warrior, and PCs can learn that with a feat, like the svirfneblin and drow can pick up some of their advanced racial features as feats.

But then again, when I think about it, having size Large PCs follow the normal rules is problematic, because some of the hit points of a Large creature are pure meat, and they need more of them than a 1st-level PC can have.

Probably just best to not create PC races from Large monsters. Instead, we could have some rules for monsters as characters that assigned a monster level of some sort. 3e's ECL system might have sucked in implementation, but it was the right idea in concept.
 

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Kannik

Hero
In my own supplement on Tauric races*, I went with what I felt was a more complete and explicit route of having them be large creatures, except with the limitation of using medium weapons (and thus medium weapon damages), rather than this UA's route of "no, you're medium, except you can carry more". Both are wordy and a bit of a kludge, but to me keeping them large feels both more right and also preserves more of the downsides, and still prevents the main thing: giving Centaurs (And other taurs) access to higher-damage weapons.

(Which is important; I've played Centaurs often over the years, and being able to dual-wield a two-handed sword plus a bastard sword because you were considered large was... well, fun, to be sure, but both kind of ridiculous from an aesthetic sense and from a game balance sense. :p)

Regarding natural weapons (and I'd do the same for the Minotaur), as "rider"-ish as they seem, I concur with leaving them at middle-of-the-road damage, though I explicitly called them out to be finesseable, and included a feat to bump the damage up for those who'd like to make them their prime weapon. Personally, if a player wanted to use their natural weapons as their main shtick, presented it to me and I can see that it's in line with weapon users, I'd likely allow it, and even plan a scenario or three where the benefits of it being a natural weapon (that can't be removed/lost/etc, for example) shines so that the character can shine in that moment.

Of course, the climbing thing highlights one thing they could have addressed. Like, they can’t climb a cliff, deal with it. They also can’t crawl or fit in a lot of potential passages, and the cities and buildings aren’t designed around their needs either. The streets are one thing, going indoors quite another. Taking into account limitations like that offsets the combat advantage of charging (for both them and a rider), carrying capacities, etc. it’s just not the direction they’re ever going to take.

On the one hand, I can understand that they didn't want to do a long write-up for a UA post, but I am still surprised they didn't at least mention this in a sidebar. Considerations for playing a taur character took up a couple of pages when I wrote my supplement, it's an important aspect that can add both fun but also frustration if it's not accounted for and discussed in a long-term campaign.

On four hooves (or paws, or...),

Kannik

* http://www.dmsguild.com/product/207056/Tauric-Races-Centaurs-Wemics-Formians-and-more
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That's very clunky.
I don't think it is reasonable that the design of the Monk should be able to kill the idea of ever getting player character natural weapons better than d6.

And whilst it doesn't otherwise "break the game" for minotaurs to have natural weapons that are better than swords, I really so no justification for horns being so damaging.
Sure, but then you do agree the horns must either make for an additional attack*, or they will forever be just a ribbon ability.

*) Even if that additional attack only comes when regular fighters get none (after Dashing).

But I think your "natural charger" racial ability is better than the version presented in UA.
Thanks.

Do note the UA could easily have been generous and given out the same ability as MM Minotaurs get, only downsized for medium-sized horns. That is goring rush and hammering horns together:

Goring Horns: Immediately after you use the Dash action on your turn, you can make one melee attack with your horns as a bonus action.

If you move at least 20 ft. straight toward a target and then hits it with Goring Horns on the same turn, the target takes an extra 3 (1d6) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 ft. away and knocked prone. The DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier.​

It would still not be good exactly, but at least it wouldn't come across as outright miserly as does the UA.
 

I suppose that would at least be a tolerable way of dealing with it. But without that...it's just offensive to any concept of setting integrity.

Also as a related beef, in the case of centaur, I don't like that a PC has dual type, but the monsters don't. Having multiple types is a part of your essence that affects how magic effects you. To say that just because you're an PC, you are subject to hold person and charm person and get the benefit of the beneficial humanoid spells (which I'm pretty sure exist, but aren't immediately coming to mind) is way more annoying to me than saying that the centaur in the MM gets unlimited charges because it is an elite warrior, and PCs can learn that with a feat, like the svirfneblin and drow can pick up some of their advanced racial features as feats.

But then again, when I think about it, having size Large PCs follow the normal rules is problematic, because some of the hit points of a Large creature are pure meat, and they need more of them than a 1st-level PC can have.

Probably just best to not create PC races from Large monsters. Instead, we could have some rules for monsters as characters that assigned a monster level of some sort. 3e's ECL system might have sucked in implementation, but it was the right idea in concept.

To be honest, I don't expect the hybrid trait to survive the playtest. I think it more for WotC to measure the interest in nonhumanoid PC's. If it is popular (despite being a trap for the majority of types--probably why the picked monstrocities to test it out on), then something like the feats will show up.

I also think they might do something like the hamadryads in 4e, where "there are dryads which you can't play", but "here is basically a humanoid dryad with a different name you can play" for centaurs/minotaurs, with a feat so that your pygmy centaur/pygmy minotaur (or whatever they call them) can get a growth spurt to become large (and at 4th level that won't be such a big deal).
[If they had called the MM minotaur a savage minotaur, that would have simplified things....]
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I am regularly underwhelmed by these. I think it's because the power level of the features of the PHB races is so minimal that they don't have a lot of design room to make bold choices or features that matter.

I wish a STR/CON dwarf fighter played significantly differently than a STR/CON half-orc fighter than a STR/CON Minotaur fighter - even at high levels.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I'm a huge Dragonlance fan, and am currently running a Dragonlance campaign, so this is very relevant to my interests. The Minotaur seems fine, but the Centaur ... no. Just no.

My message to Wizards is: If you refuse to support Large PC races, don't offer Centaur as a race. Offering My Little Ponytaur goes against every story conception of what a Centaur is. Maybe it works for Bariaur, but not Centaur.

Horses are Large. Centaurs have the body of a Horse. Don't break our brains with this. If you can't support them, just don't support them.

Also, only being able to Charge only 1/short rest is stupid.

Someone mentioned the Midgard version of the minotaur and centaur, they have the ability to use their charge a number of times equal to their constitution modifier/long rest. I like that better than just once per rest as it acts like their stamina, though I still think that I might just make it usable at will.

Also, I believe the Midgard centaurs are also large.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So, lots of good thoughts on the content in this thread, but what I am wondering is...what product is this meant for? When Crawford is involved, it is material meant for a specific book. His Tweet specifically called out the Greek mythos origins of the monsters...
 



Ilbranteloth

Explorer
In my own supplement on Tauric races*, I went with what I felt was a more complete and explicit route of having them be large creatures, except with the limitation of using medium weapons (and thus medium weapon damages), rather than this UA's route of "no, you're medium, except you can carry more". Both are wordy and a bit of a kludge, but to me keeping them large feels both more right and also preserves more of the downsides, and still prevents the main thing: giving Centaurs (And other taurs) access to higher-damage weapons.

(Which is important; I've played Centaurs often over the years, and being able to dual-wield a two-handed sword plus a bastard sword because you were considered large was... well, fun, to be sure, but both kind of ridiculous from an aesthetic sense and from a game balance sense. :p)

Regarding natural weapons (and I'd do the same for the Minotaur), as "rider"-ish as they seem, I concur with leaving them at middle-of-the-road damage, though I explicitly called them out to be finesseable, and included a feat to bump the damage up for those who'd like to make them their prime weapon. Personally, if a player wanted to use their natural weapons as their main shtick, presented it to me and I can see that it's in line with weapon users, I'd likely allow it, and even plan a scenario or three where the benefits of it being a natural weapon (that can't be removed/lost/etc, for example) shines so that the character can shine in that moment.

--

On the one hand, I can understand that they didn't want to do a long write-up for a UA post, but I am still surprised they didn't at least mention this in a sidebar. Considerations for playing a taur character took up a couple of pages when I wrote my supplement, it's an important aspect that can add both fun but also frustration if it's not accounted for and discussed in a long-term campaign.

On four hooves (or paws, or...),

Kannik

* http://www.dmsguild.com/product/207056/Tauric-Races-Centaurs-Wemics-Formians-and-more

That sounds pretty cool, and much more along the lines of what I'd try to do if I was going in that direction. And it makes sense, the size of the weapon wielded is dependent upon the physical traits of the creature, and although a centaur as a whole is large, the weapon-wielding portion (the "human" part) is the same as any other human. There are a lot of weapons that I think would be poorly suited for one too.

I would definitely think about how a tauric creature approaches combat, too, along with their cultural skill set regarding things like mining, forging and smithing, whether they would value gold, silver, coins, etc. I guess what it comes down to, is what makes playing an exotic or unusual race interesting for me, is that they are different.

Don't get me wrong, D&D is being designed for the greater masses, where game balance and the idea of playing a given race is the priority. There's really nothing inherently wrong with that, but in the end it means that every race other than human largely amounts to a human in a monster suit. Yes, each race has it's own signature abilities that "defines" them as different, but within the published adventures/campaigns there is little difference beyond that.

They're really leaving it up to the DM to address such issues in their campaign, instead of putting them into the rules and lore of the game, but their absence in the published materials presents a certain approach as a sort of default.
 

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