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This is my first attempt at a homebrew, and I've never DMed before so my knowledge of the Player's Handbook is what I've managed to find online.

At a glance, is this race overpowered compared to the standard races? (in relation to the racial traits/sub-race traits)

Eir (race)

  • Resistance: cold damage
  • Climbing speed: 25 feet
  • Natural weapons (1d6 + Strength modifier)
  • Seeking Perfection (gain 2 of the following skill proficiencies: Investigation, Nature, Religion, Insight, Medicine, Perception, Survival)
  • Languages: Speak Eiri, plus broken Common if living off mountain less than a year

Subraces

Eir (young)

  • Dex +2
  • Proficiency: Athletics
  • Nimble Claws (use bonus action to use claws as thieves' tools or similar if hand is free)
  • Start with feat: Mobile

Hiojuth

  • Str +1 and Con +1
  • Size: large
  • Natural armor (6 when unarmored, AC = 10 + natural armor + Dex mod (maybe changing that to Con mod?))
  • Start with feat: Grappler
  • Relentless Endurance (if not killed outright, instead of going to 0hp, go to 1, once per long rest)

Race descriptions nicely formatted: click thumbnails for larger images.

Eir race description page 1 Eir race description page 2

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the intent that the Nimble Claws may be used to accomplish tasks that would normally call for an action with a bonus action, or is that a bonus action can be used to cause the claws to be used as tools on the regular action that same turn? \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Nov 17 at 20:49
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This is not balanced with the other races in the PHB.

Assuming that these are two different sub races ...

  1. You are starting with a feat.
  2. You are starting at size large: no PHB race is large. (Not even Goliath)
    Why this may matter:
    1. Weapon damage changes. You get 1d4 bonus when you go from medium to large (see potion of growth, enlargement spell). There is a reason all player playable races are medium sized. The PHB doesn't explain how damage goes up for a Large sized PC because No PC is sized Large. It's a default.
    2. Monsters get additional damage dice if large. (This should not apply to you, though).
    3. Being large also allows you to Grapple and Shove Huge sized opponents. It also means that small sized monsters can't grapple or shove you (Kobolds, Goblins). That becomes a non-trivial benefit as you fight things larger than large at higher levels. You can ask my half-orc champion versus giants, cyclops, etc, on that score. Without a potion/spell, his shield master shove does not function.
  3. Unarmored AC is overly generous, given that class isn't yet given.
  4. Natural weapons at 1d6 + str ... significantly more than PHB races. (Though similar to Tabaxi from Volo's ... 1d4)

    The base class benefits of climb, cold resistance, etc fit well enough on their own for the base race. You added a further two skills in the searching for perfection. (Equivalent to half elf skill boost).

Your Proposed bonuses:
For Eir: Dex +2. With two feats. Similar to vHuman.
For Hiojuth: Str and Con + 1. Similar to vHuman.

Compare to variant Human: +1 to two abilities and one feat, and one added skill.

Skills: Your "nimbles claws" as thieves tools is an equivalent to a vhuman added skill, but it isn't a skill. Using it as a bonus action begins to approach a feat. Add to that unarmored defense and you are out of balance.

Add Athletics Proficiency, which makes for three additional skills for the Hiojuth sub-race, isn't too far out of whack. You then added the half-orc racial unique ability for Hiojuth on top of that. And then unarmored defense ...

Natural Armor: natural armor (6 when un armored, ac = 10 + nat armor + dex mod)(maybe changing that to con mod?)

Natural armor as presented is equivalent to roughly plate armor with no shield: 10 + 6 + either Dex or Con mod. (Depends in how high your dexterity is at roll up, to which you have already added 2). If your starting Dex is 16, you have AC 19 without armor. A monk with Wis 16 and Dex 16 has a 16 AC. If you picked a monk, and you have a decent wisdom (14) and 16 dex (Eir), your unarmored AC is 20.

No, this is not balanced.

What to fix?

Size: Medium. Like all other races in PHB and Volo's. (Except for the small ones ...)
Base race: Good! But change Natural Weapons to 1d4 + bonus
Sub races: Lose the feats. Keep the rest.
Eir: Make nimble claws "equivalent to thieves tools" but drop the bonus action.

Unarmored AC: lose it, or trade one of the other base class attributes for a +3 bonus.


Notes.

The unarmored attribute is usually a class ability (Draconic Bloodline sorcerer, Barbarian, Monk, although a few monster races like Tortles or Lizardfolk have something like this).

An argument for "lose it" comes from @Ethan, who made a point in comments about how the game treats Armor Class, and bounded accuracy: the unarmored defense pushes up against a 5E design principle. There are almost no plain AC bonuses. Typically, the game presents an alternate calculation like similar to mage armor. "While not wearing armor, your AC is 12(or 13) + dex mod" would fit the design model more closely. (See the Sorcerer example in the PHB).

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like the subraces are intended to be choices akin to Wood/High elf - not that you get both. \$\endgroup\$ – Speedkat May 2 '18 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Being Large in this addition affects nothing \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien May 2 '18 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VoromirKadien Sorry, you are mistaken. (1) Weapon damage changes. You get 1d4 bonus when you go from medium to large (see potion, spell). (2) Monsters get additional damage dice. (3) Being large also allows you to grapple Huge, and to shove. That becomes a non trivial benefit as you fight things larger than large at higher levels. You can ask my half orc champion versus Giants, cyclops, etc, on that score. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 2 '18 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you assuming a creature made large through the use of an Enlarge/Reduce Spell? Because that's a spell effect that doesn't necessarily apply to creatures that start out as large. Other RAW sources don't equate size of creature with things like damage or AC anymore. Also see this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – sr-ix May 2 '18 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sr-ix Please check the Monster Manual. Size adds damage dice for weapons. Also, that answer is about AC. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 2 '18 at 17:04
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A natural armor of 16(+Dex) is overpowered, especially at low levels. Compare that to Lizardfolk's natural armor of 13(+Dex); your subrace's AC is 3 higher than the Lizardfolk gets. 3 extra AC with no drawbacks is very hard to come by in the bounded-accuracy world of DND 5e, which makes this significantly stronger than the Lizardfolk's racial trait.

A reasonable starting character with +2 Dex would have 18 unarmored AC, 20 with a shield, and a minmaxed AC character could start with 20 unarmored AC, 22 with a shield. The only nonmagical armor that remotely compares is Plate Mail, which is 1500 gp for 18 AC with no Dex bonus added, and it also has drawbacks and usage requirements.

A character starting with that AC and a bit of optimization will be able to shrug off most anything at early levels and scale effectively into later levels as well.

With regards to your other variant (Eir), it is fairly similar to Tabaxi. You have a slightly stronger natural weapon (1d6 vs 1d4), cold resistance, 3 skill proficiencies vs 2, no wisdom bonus, and mobile vs feline agility, plus Nimble claws. Overall, it seems like a better Tabaxi, as not provoking opportunity attacks is very strong (which comes from the Mobile feat), and it has a better climb speed, stronger natural weapons, and a damage resistance, plus nimble claws, all for the tradeoff of losing the +1 wisdom. It is definitely less overpowered than the Hiojuth subrace though, and I would probably allow it if the Mobile feat got replaced with something else.

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Both races are very strong compared to the base races.

Using Eleazzaar's numbers from Detect Balance: a 5e Homebrew Race Guide, I calculated out the numbers as best I could. Some of your racial traits are not really in line with the way they break down traits normally, so I had to guess for some of it.

Base Eir

  • Cold Resistance - one medium rarity resistance - 3

  • Climbing Speed 25 ft - they give 30ft of climbing speed a value of 2, so I'll stick with that - 2

  • Claws - natural weapons 1d6 - 2

  • Seeking Perfection - choice of two skill proficiencies - 5

  • Common and one other language - 0

This leaves your base race with a total score of 12

Young Eir

  • +2 Dex - two ASI's - 8

  • Nimble Claws - I took this as Thieves' Tools Proficiency except as a bonus action which isn't really covered by the chart, which is how I recommend you re-word it (they always have thieves' tools on them and are proficient with them) - one tool proficiency, as a bonus action - 3

  • Athletics Proficiency - one skill proficiency - 2

  • Starting Feat: Mobile - this is more complicated, it's basically a combination of 40 ft base speed, some ignoring the rough terrain and avoiding Opportunity Attacks. I combined 40ft speed (4), ignore non-magical rough terrain (3) and then guessed at the value of the OppAtk thing at 4 - 11

This gives this sub-race a total of 34

Hiojuth

  • +1 Str +1 Con - two ASI's - 8

  • Large - this is a whole can of worms I haven't sat down to calculate yet - ?

  • Natural Armor 6 - the highest natural armor they consider is 13, a.k.a Mage Armor. this is 3 points higher than that. It is effectively free Chain Mail without stealth disadvantage. It stacks with Dex and shield and the defensive fighting style to give a level one fighter an AC of 22. This is nuts, but I'm still just guessing at the score here - 15

  • Grappler - this is a little bit more than the grappling feature of Powerful Build, so I adjusted accordingly - 4

  • Relentless Endurance - this is just the Half-Orc feature, which I like. those are great to re-use as individual sub-units of a race - 4

This leaves this sub-race with a total of AT LEAST 43

For reference, the guide puts variant humans at 33 and yuan-ti pureblood at 47.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of Detect Balance before. Is it well-regarded as being accurate and reliable? If so, this is a very interesting method to take. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 2 '18 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bonus action thieves tools is significantly stronger than just proficiency. But I disagree with a lot of the point values for the source you linked so I'll just leave that suggestion for now \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron May 2 '18 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron It's a decent "first approximation" tool but it is likely not the tool the actual devs used .... \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 2 '18 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Yuanti pureblood aren't AL legal? Do you have a source for that/is that new? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron May 2 '18 at 17:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ From what I've found: "All of the playable races in Volo's are AL legal. They have to be a member of a faction, and each race has a list of factions that will accept them. They also each have background elements that must be incorporated into a character's background." Supposedly that's according to the AL Volo's reference that seems to no longer be listed on DMsGuild. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 2 '18 at 19:22
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Changes I would make:

natural weapons (1d4 + strength modifier) I would make this read like the tabaxi natural weapons.

Nimble claws (use bonus action to use claws as thief's tools or similar if hand is free) I wouldn't add this simply because thieves tools are not just sticks you stick in locks to magically make them unlock. They are specialized tools that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes whose roles a claw can't fill.

Str +1, Start with feat: grappler, doesn't really fit a sage role. I would choose something more intellectual. Maybe con +2, Start with feat: Ritual caster or Magic Initiate

Natural Armor: natural armor (3 when un armored, ac = 10 + nat armor + dex mod) Make it more in line with lizardman or tortle. I would also add some sort of movement penalty to be more in line with the description.

Size: medium That I am aware of no player races are large.

I would also say that the variants have to be an either or choice. You can't make a 36 year old Eir then hit level 2 say it is your birthday and add all the bonuses of Hiojuth. Even with these changes it is still a bit stronger than most other races but probably workable.

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