I have a homebrew race I would like evaluated, for overall balance.

Awakened Monkey

You were once an ordinary monkey, just wandering with your monkey friends, and one day you were awakened. By a druid or a bard, or by a random magic artifact; who knows.

Awakened Monkey Traits

You have inherited the traits of, well monkeys.

Ability Score Increase. You get a +2 to Dexterity or Constitution, and +1 to one any other ability score.

Primate Agility. You gain proficiency in Athletics.

Primate Senses. You gain proficiency in the Perception skill.

Primate Speed. You can take the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn.

Languages. You can speak one language of your choice.

Climbing. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.

Primate Dexterity. Awakened monkeys are able to use their feet to manipulate objects just as well as they can use their hands. They can also hang from their feet, as well as use tools and weapons. When holding an object in their feet their walking speed becomes 0 and their climbing speed is halved.

What needs fixing or tweaking to be balanced?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I removed all the requests for opinions and suggestions from the question. It may be worth rereading the answers to your meta question about why your side questions for opinions and ideas keep getting rejected by the site. That’s still true. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I'm sorry I keep asking questions with option based stuff, it just feels natural. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 17:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m not sure if you’re just explaining past errors or hoping to excuse continuing to do this in the future. If the latter, resist the temptation. Seriously: it can result in losing posting privileges here if it keeps happening. It’s not reasonable to force the community to keep correcting you after it’s been explained thoroughly, so we would have to cut you off eventually if you kept asking for opinions. Save that stuff for discussion sites (like on this list) if you want to have those conversations. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


The overall direction is coherent, but it is over-powered in a few places and still a bit under-specified

I admire the spirit of this, but comparing to other races, some adjustments are in order.


You're offering a lot of flexibility; most non-human races peg you to specific abilities being increased, not allowing so much choice.

Skill Proficiencies

You're granting two, but most races get zero or one.


Your Primate Speed and Primate Ability are in excess of the special features most races get. Compare the Tabaxi's Feline Agility (a narrower version of your giving a free Dash).

Missing Elements

You need to specify the race's default alignment (or alignment tendencies), lifespan, age of maturity, ranges of height and weight. And of course, Size. Is a monkey Small? Tiny?

Additional considerations

An Orc has a reduction in Intelligence. Should a monkey have a reduction in Strength for being so diminutive compared to other races? A subtraction here would help with overall balance, in respect to all the benefits you're trying to grant.


Primate Dexterity will lead to overpowered "tanks" (and maybe overpowered high level casters)

Many builds rely on the ability to stay in one place and either attract or lock down other enemies. To these characters, mobility is rarely an issue. The main choice they have to make is between damage output and defense: in practical terms, whether or not to use a shield. A shield adds a precious +2 to AC, but deprives them of a free hand stopping them from using either Two Weapon Fighting, or Two Handed Weapons.

This race would enable you to stop making this choice and have it both ways. They could wield a shield in one hand and use a hand and foot to use a two handed weapon, for example: they could even take a foot off of the weapon (once they've made all their attacks) and move around as much as they wanted. If this was considered "dropping" the weapon, they could even put their foot back on the weapon at the end of the turn (since dropping an item typically doesn't take your "interact with an object"). This racial trait therefore basically adds a +2 AC to such characters (or higher if they have a magical shield), which is a major benefit in a bounded accuracy system.

It also could be used by certain "blaster caster" types. There are magical items which give bonuses to spell attack rolls made "while holding" them. Such items include the Wand of the War Mage, The Staff of Power, and the Rod of the Pact Keeper. The game is currently balanced around the assumption that a spellcaster could benefit form at most two of these magical items at a time. The ability to benefit from three could unbalance a higher level character.

Generally, trade like for like

If you want to keep things balanced, I'd suggest two major changes. First, I'd suggest that magical items held in feet (other than footwear) do not give any benefit (reason that they are designed to be used by hands). Second, I'd recommend that you require an Action to grip an item with a foot, and maybe another Action to release it (reason being that the feet are very dexterous, but they instinctively grip items held in their feet as hard as they can). This means that every time they shift from using two limbs it has an "opportunity cost" that prevents them from abusing this extra limb for cost-free extra attacks.

Take the Tabaxi as a guidance for designing racial features that add serious benefits in combat. The Tabaxi have the feline agility feature, which states:

Feline Agility. Your reflexes and agility allow you to move with a burst of speed. When you move on your turn in combat, you can double your speed until the end of the turn. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you move O feet on one of your turns.

This is a massively useful ability, as doubling your speed greatly increases mobility (and combines well with other features, such as the spell Haste). However, in order to use this feature again they have to forgo any movement in another turn. This means that their average movement speed over many turns will be similar to those of another character (who moves 30 feet a round, rather than 60 feet every other round), keeping things balanced.

Essentially, the tabaxi gains movement at the cost of later movement. That is a fair and balanced trade. In your case, you've essentially traded damage and/or AC for movement (and maybe not even that, depending on how the characters use this trait). This isn't a fair trade, and will likely result in an unbalanced system.

There are components of racial benefits that give unambiguous benefits to damage. For example, a Lizardfolk can do 1d6+Modifier damage with an unarmed strike (bite), which is an average +1 damage per attack for a low level monk. However, even this is a tradeoff for damage, because Lizardfolk don't get bonuses to dexterity, most Monks' main attack stat. When designing a race, you have to think of whether or not this will make an unambiguously better version of any given class than every existing race. And in the long run (excluding the first few levels where Variant Human will have a clear advantage) this will make a Fighter with a pretty clear advantage over all the other Fighters out there.

  • \$\begingroup\$ However keep in ming a goblin can disengage and hide as a bonus action on turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Efialtes
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 13:45

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