This race is part of a conversion of a race I built for a 3.5e campaign years ago, and I want to start a new campaign in the same setting, so I need to have the same races available for the new campaign as I did for the original.
Since the 'monster PC' rules can lead to a lot of trouble, I wanted to build the race more 'inspired by' the MM Dryad writeup than try to shoehorn an overpowered character into a PC mold. (Dryads in the MM are a CR1 creature, and would start with 5d8 hit dice, which is way too much for a lv 1 character to start with, plus all the powers would be broken for a PC at the lower tiers.)
I tried to remove all the campaign-setting stuff since it's not germane to my question on balance, but if I missed something, please ignore it, and if you have questions about why these things exist in my game world, I'd be happy to explain elsewhere.
Is this homebrew 5e race (including its subraces) balanced compared to the official published races?
Race: Dryad Sapling
- Ability score increase: +2 Wisdom
- Age: Dryad Saplings live as long as humans, 80 to 100 years, in Sapling form before planting themselves and becoming bound to their trees. A planted Dryad gains all Dryad statistics, retaining all their character levels and abilities, and becomes an NPC under the Dungeon Master's control.
- Size: Saplings are Medium creatures, mostly between 5 and 7 feet in height, though Redwood Dryads are between 6 and 8 feet in height. Applewood Dryads are Small, between 3 and 5 feet high.
- Speed: 30 feet
- Dryad Saplings gain proficiency in the Nature skill.
- They are proficient with Simple weapons and Light armor, and are uncomfortable in metal armors, though no mechanical penalty exists for metal armor use based on their race. They are also proficient with Longbows and Shortbows.
- Treespeaker: Dryad Saplings may communicate with Plants in their own mode of communication, communing via mental images and impressions rather than words. They must touch the plant to communicate with it.
- Dryad Saplings learn the druidcraft cantrip at first level. At 3rd level, Dryad Saplings may learn either the entangle or goodberry spell, using Wisdom as their spellcasting ability, and can cast the chosen spell once per short rest. At 5th level, Dryad Saplings learn the barkskin spell, using Wisdom as their spellcasting ability, and can cast it once per short rest.
- Languages: Dryad Saplings speak Sylvan and Common natively.
This subrace encompasses all the subtropical, broad-leafed tree types such as Elms, Oaks, Ash, Maples, and other similar trees, except Aspens.
- Ability Score: Charisma +1
- Proficiency with Nets
- Cantrip: Guidance, gained at 1st level
- Extra Language: Elven, due to their exposure to Elves, who make their homes in the same forests favored by Deciduous dryads.
This subrace encompasses the cone-bearing alpine trees, such as pines, cedars, cypress, fir, etc, except Redwoods and Sequoias.
- Ability Score: +1 Con
- Proficiency with Whips
- Resistance to Fire damage
- Extra Language: Dwarven, due to their exposure to dwarves in the mountains where their trees thrive.
- Cantrip: Thorn whip, gained at 1st level
This subrace are all identical clones of each other, differing only in their appearance due to age and personal style.
- Ability Score: +1 Int
- Proficient with Glaives
- Aspen Dryad Saplings gain advantage on saving throws against Sleep effects.
- Cantrip: Vicious mockery, gained at 1st level
This subrace is larger than the others, and are bonded with Redwood or Sequoia trees. Redwood Dryad Saplings stand up to 8 feet in height, though they are slender and are still of Medium size. A full Redwood Dryad stands between 25 and 35 feet tall and counts as a Huge creature. (A planted Dryad is always an NPC.)
- Ability Score: +1 Str and +1 Con
- Proficient with Mauls
- Resistance to Cold damage
- Advantage vs. being knocked prone
- Additional Language: Giant
This subrace is small in stature, and encompasses cultivated fruit trees. They stand between 3 and 5 feet tall, and count as Small creatures, both as Saplings and as full Dryads.
- Ability score: +1 Dexterity
- Applewood Dryads gain advantage on saves against being stunned.
- Cantrip: Mage hand, gained at 1st level.