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I have created a homebrew race, of a 'tree person' (pretty much a tree-humanoid) (a better name will come later).

Is this race balanced in proportion to other official 5e races?


Tree Person

Features:

Ability Score Improvement: +2 Wis, +1 Con, +1 Str, -1 Dex

Speed: 25 feet

Height: 8 feet

Age: Tree people typically reach maturity at 200 years old, and can live until they are about 1500 years old.

Natural Armour: You have natural armour which is equal to 10 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier.

Accustomed to the Forest: You gain advantage on all nature, survival checks concerning things in the forest.

Spellcasting: you are able to cast the following spells:

  • You learn the cantrip thorn whip.

  • At 3rd level, you may cast entangle once per day.

  • At 5th level, you may cast speak with plants once per day.

Languages: You know Common, Sylvan, and one other language of your choice.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For future reference: How do I evaluate whether my homebrew race is balanced? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Mar 1 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey I have already looked at that; I used things I saw from other races (unarmoured defense from warforged, spellcasting from many races). I have not playtested it (I would like feedback before I try it). The correct answer also suggests posting the race here for evaluation. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Mar 1 at 1:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Justin 5e warforged don't have 'Unarmoured Defense' they have 'Integrated Protection'. Are you sure you are comparing against the correct edition? \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 1 at 2:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Justin In general homebrew, once submitted for review, shouldn't be edited. Instead we have an iterative, versioned system. I'll let that pass since it's not causing more trouble, but this will be an exception to the rule rather than a guideline: other minor fixes should be reserved for future revisions. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am GROOT! lol that was my first response to this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Efialtes Dec 5 at 13:19
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I think this race is mostly balanced, but I have a few suggestions. Let's take each trait in turn from your stat block.

Ability Score Improvement: +2 Wis, +1 Con, +1 Str, -1 Dex

+2 to Wis and +1 to Con and Str would be balanced without needing the -1 Dex to counter-balance it, if we compare with Half-Elves (PHB, p. 39), who get +2 to Cha and +1 to two other abilities (thanks to András for reminding me).

Most other races have +2 and +1 to something (with the exception of Mountain Dwarves), and Triton (from Volo's Guide to Monsters, see p. 117), who has +1 to three different stats, so it's worth bearing in mind that this does make the race a little stronger, but I don't think the rest of the race's traits would make this overpowered.

Speed: 25 feet

Ok, slower than most other medium races, but the same as most small races; namely, Gnomes, Halflings and Dwarves all use this speed, so this is already something that exists, although it does make the race slightly weaker, but not by much.

I'm ignoring Age and Height, although I hope 8 feet means "as big as a Medium creature can get" (like a Goliath) because there are currently no Large playable races; in fact, so far the designers seem to have gone out of their way to avoid Large races, such as the playable Centaur and Minotaur races in Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica being Medium, despite their monster counterparts (i.e. from the Monster Manual) being Large.

Natural Armour: You have natural armour which is equal to 10 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier.

There are a few other races that have natural armour traits, namely the Lizardfolk (Volo's, p. 113) or Loxodon (GGtR, p. 18), but they do not include the proficiency bonus. The Warforged from Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron have AC calculations that do include proficiency, so there is a precedent for it, but this has been changed in Eberron: Rising from the Last War to not include proficiency bonus, implying that it wasn't balanced after all. It might be best to go with the Loxodon's calculation, which is a flat 12 + your Constitution modifier.

Accustomed to the Forest: You gain advantage on all nature, survival checks concerning things in the forest.

On reflection, this might be quite overpowered, certainly at lower levels; it's more typical to give proficiency in a skill or two instead of advantage with those skills, given that advantage is equivalent to +5 (proficiency at lower levels is only +2, +4 with double proficiency, so having advantage instead is a bit much).

Spellcasting: you are able to cast the following spells:

  • You learn the cantrip thorn whip.

  • At 3rd level, you may cast entangle once per day.

  • At 5th level, you may cast speak with plants once per day.

This seems fine, although I assume this is using Wisdom as the spellcasting modifier? It's best to state that. The only one that may be atypical is that you can cast a 3rd level spell, speak with plants, but it's not a combat spell, and it is something that a full-spellcaster (i.e. a druid) could cast at 5th level, so I don't think this will be a problem or needs to be changed. Triton have already set a precedent for that in VGtM (they can cast wall of water at 5th level, which is a 3rd level spell, but it's not that strong-a-spell). It is otherwise in line with other races with innate spellcasting such as Tieflings (PHB, p. 43) or Drow (PHB, p. 24).

Languages: You know Common, Sylvan, and one other language of your choice.

Three languages? Most races only learn two, although there are some exceptions, such as the half elf (PHB, p. 39); high elves (PHB, p. 24) also gain an extra language. Overall, I don't think there's anything that makes this race overpowered, so I don't see an extra language tipping the balance.

All in all, this has some balance issues, but I think can be easily balanced with my recommended suggestions such as to the Natural Armour and Accustomed to the Forest traits. That said, it is on the stronger side of balanced, so adding anything else would very likely overpower it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also it makes non-moon melee Druids viable. (I see it as an upside) \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 1 at 9:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Should be advantage is roughly equivalent to +5 (possibly with a citation for the why) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 1 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron advantage is equivalent to +5 for a target of 10 (around DC15 for a proficient low level PC with a good stat) but falls off as the target changes \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 1 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM still not equivalent like you are suggesting. The probabilities of success are equivalent, but there are differences (such as in cases where you gain additional penalties for failing by 5 or more). Even in your precise case, saying "equivalent" is untrue. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 1 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ to be fair lizardfolk AC is 13 + dex, so starting at 10 would make it more or less useless without the proficiency modifier. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 5 at 13:14
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Tree Person Features:

Ability Score Improvement: +2 Wis, +1 Con, +1 Str, -1 Dex

Balanced, perhaps just on the powerful side of things with the +2 bonus to Wis, but very in keeping with the racial concept.

Speed: 25 feet

Very in keeping with the racial concept and balances against the +2 Wis above.

Height: 8 feet

Need to state that the race is Medium sized. There is a reason no PC races are Large, it would be a very significant advantage.

Age: Tree people typically reach maturity at 200 years old, and can live until they are about 1500 years old.

Conceptually in keeping. The oldest PC race, twice as old a an elf. But how often does ageing become an issue? Trees would likely not be too concerned about Ghosts...

Natural Armour: You have natural armour which is equal to your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier.

Including proficiency is a big deal, but I see how it fits with the concept. You need to state that it is 10 + proficiency + Con and that this only works when not wearing armour. You need to decide if it works with using a shield, which I would suggest conceptually it should, though this makes it a very powerful ability. I would suggest that 13 + Con when not wearing armour, but may use a shield would be more balanced.

Accustomed to the Forest: You gain advantage on all nature, survival checks concerning things in the forest.

Advantage is a big deal and not balanced. PC races generally offer proficiency in skills, or at best, double proficiency bonus if already skilled. The limitation you add "in the forest" suggests this would be a better, balanced trait:

"Accustomed to the Forest: When dealing with matters relating to the forests or woods of the world, you gain double your proficiency bonus, if any, to Wis(Survival) and Int(Nature) checks."

Or perhaps more in keeping with the Hill Dwarf Stonecunning trait:

"Accustomed to the Forest: Whenever you make an Wis(Survival) and Int(Nature) check related directly to forests and trees, you are considered proficient in the Survival or Nature skill and add double your Proficiency Bonus to the check, instead of your normal Proficiency Bonus."

Spellcasting: you are able to cast the following spells:

You learn the cantrip thorn whip.

At 3rd level, you may cast entangle once per day.

At 5th level, you may cast speak with plants once per day.

These are conceptually good and not too powerful. Gnomes and Yuan-yi purebloods (for instance) get to use "Speak with..." unlimited number of times with specific, limited sets of creatures. You could consider limiting this specifically to trees and allowing it to be used at will.

Languages: You know Common, Sylvan, and one other language of your choice.

What is the justification for the third language? Only such races as the academic High Elves get three and I see no reason for a tree person to get a special linguistic treatment. Common and Sylvan is enough.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Without looking for balance side, having a third language could be explained by the age the race can reach, which let them enough time to learn more than two. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Mar 1 at 14:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zoma Maybe- but this question is looking at balance. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 1 at 14:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ What do languages have to do with balance? You could give 10 extra languages to non-variant humans, they would still be subpar. \$\endgroup\$ – András Mar 1 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ If languages are not something important why are there Comprehend Languages and Tongues spells, and a Helm of Comprehend Languages magic item? This comes down to how your game goes I guess. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Mar 1 at 16:26

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