For my 5e homebrew setting, I'm making an elf subrace that's supposed to be able to turn into a tiny animal (like a squirrel, raccoon, wildcat etc) once per long rest, for a number of hours equal to half of the character's level, so 1st level character would be able to change shape for 30 minutes, 2nd level for 1 hour, and so forth.

Do you think this trait is balanced? If not, what do you think I should change?

For clarity, here's the full subrace trait list:

  • Wisdom +1
  • Fey shapechange (working title): once per long rest polymorph into any animal of tiny size for a number of hours equal to half of your character level.
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ Not a balance comment, but if you intend this function to grant 30 minutes of polymorph at level 1 you should probably change the wording to "up to 30 minutes per character level" as the rules say to round down, and 0.5 hours rounds down to 0 normally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    May 18, 2018 at 12:37
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik While the rules do say to round down, I have always assumed that to be in the case of units which are not easily converted. For example, if someone were to half the time it took to perform a one-hour crafting (somehow), I would still require them to perform the full 30 minutes instead of saying, "Alright, you've crafted your item immediately." What the round down rule works great for is things like Damage, which have no subunits, or for any subunits/situations which have frustrating calculations, like 14.9 miles. \$\endgroup\$ May 18, 2018 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


You should be okay but be careful of stepping on the druid's toes

There is nothing particularly unbalanced about the feature. You can sort of compare it to gaining a bit less than 1/3 of the Magic Initiate feature for Find Familiar which can be done with Variant Human. (As long as the Tiny beasts are of a low CR, thanks @PL457)

However, it does fill a very similar role to the druid's Wild Shape feature. If there is a druid (especially one who's not Circle of the Moon) in the same party, both characters will be using the Tiny forms for things like recon and getting into locations otherwise unreachable. Some groups will work with this fine while others might have some tension. You should just be aware of this fact before playing with such a homebrew.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    May 19, 2018 at 1:57

This is a good start, but it may even be slightly underpowered

Most elven sub races give the player character multiple, small, thematic benefits. The elven subraces in the PHB all give some kind of weapon proficiency, an ability score increase, and then two minor abilities. Since the shapechange ability is relatively strong, you could have the other ability be more role play based.

One possible option would be to give the sub race something like the Forest Gnome’s “Speak with Small Beasts.” This would remain thematic, as well as still giving the player some useful ways of gathering information about the local environment.

The only other thing I would change about the sub-race is that I would add a CR cap on the Fey Shapechange ability. This cap should probably be around CR 1/8, so you still have some useful creatures, but nothing that is going to be seriously beneficial in combat.


If I were you, I would change the trait so that you can't morph into something with a CR greater than your level. Otherwise, they might turn into some monster with tiny size and mid-level CR (the various kinds of fey come to mind, but I don't have my monster manual on hand right now), making the ability overpowered at low levels and situational at best at high levels.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .