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In my original question, the consensus was that my proposed racial splat based on these awesome little critters:

Draco volans - Saved by Haakon Olav Andreassen on Pintrest

It was weighing in a little on the underpowered side, being a weaker version of a race found in the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica.

So looking to augment the racial traits a little, I looked back to nature for further inspiration, and I can't believe I missed this little guy!

Highly camouflaged Draco dussumieri from Bandipur National Park, India. Source: Wikipedia
Or maybe not so unbelievable

That's Draco dussumieri, a cousin of the common Draco volans. So with a nod to the stealthiness of the Draco family, let's add something to boost their ability to Hide.

Based on Akixkisu's assessment of the initial build at ~21 points, and based on the "Detect Balance" evaluator and the guide's "recommended score for new homebrew races is 24 to 27", I added the Stealth skill proficiency (+2 pts) and what I hope is "A sometimes useful feature" (+2 pts). How does it look?

  • Ability Score Increase: +2 DEX, +1 WIS
  • Size: Medium
  • Age: Yes
  • Languages: Draconic & Common
  • Speed: 25 ft. walking; 25 ft. climbing.
  • Climbing Claws: Grants climbing speed equal to walking speed;
    Natural weapon for (1d4 + ability mod) slashing damage, with the finesse property
  • Glide: You can glide for short periods of time. You have a fly speed of 60 feet, but cannot gain altitude with this trait.
    While gliding, you descend at a minimum rate of 5 feet vertically for every 15 feet traveled horizontally. You can safely descend up to 100 feet during your move, and Vertical distance travelled while gliding does not count against your total move distance.
    If you are still in the air at the end of this movement you fall from the point where your movement ended, taking damage as normal.
    If you involuntarily begin to fall (i.e. not during your movement or as a consequence of finishing a glide in midair), you may use your reaction to glide.
    You cannot use this trait if you are encumbered (if using encumbrance rules) or if you are wearing medium or heavy armor.
  • Stealthy Climber: You have proficiency in the Stealth skill.
  • Inconspicuous: When taking the Hide action, as long as you do not have disadvantage on your Stealth check, you may always attempt to hide from creatures who are at least 10 feet below you, even if they could otherwise see you.
    While you are hidden, you may use your bonus action to remain motionless and blend in with your surroundings. Until you move (or stop hiding), all creatures have disadvantage on sight- and sound-based Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to detect you.

Is this homebrew race balanced?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which feature were you hoping qualifies as "sometimes useful"? Gliding? Inconspicuous? Both? \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 6 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, sorry - was referring to "Inconspicuous", the "Gliding" was part of the original concept in the linked question. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave B May 6 at 19:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't forget about step 3. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 6 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ What does "Age: Yes" mean? It has almost no mechanical impact, but the phrasing seems strange. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 6 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I get the Dex bonus, but why Wis? \$\endgroup\$ – András May 7 at 6:53
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This is likely balanced but some of the traits need work

As Akixkisu says from a pure numerical value this race is fairly balanced occuring to the detect balance spreadsheet. There is no reason you can't begin playtesting with this class as written. However I would like to highlight a couple of issues with your current wording.

How old am I?

  • Age: Yes

What does this mean? Presumably that they are not immortal but other than that is gives us no information. You should clear this up before or during playtesting.

Look mum, no hands!

Climbing Claws: Grants climbing speed equal to walking speed; Natural weapon for (1d4 + ability mod) slashing damage, with the finesse property

This is a bit pedantic but worth clarifying. Does the climbing speed rely on having a free hand? What about the natural weapon? Or can you use your feet for sufficiently for both while your hands are occupied? Expanding the wording on this would be worthwhile.

Hiding in mid-air

Inconspicuous: When taking the Hide action, as long as you do not have disadvantage on your Stealth check, you may always attempt to hide from creatures who are at least 10 feet below you, even if they could otherwise see you.

As written this means you could hide in mid-air in plain sight of all creatures. You probably want to add a restriction like "while climbing" or similar. Otherwise a rogue could use glide to get close, cunning action to hide as a bonus action and then have advantage on their attack despite being in plain sight.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Excellent comments - thank-you for the feedback! \$\endgroup\$ – Dave B May 31 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ And the "Age: Yes" is largely me just filling in the standard dimensions with filler text for stuff that I didn't feel was mechanically important, and will be fleshed out once I get to writing up the racial history, background, etc. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Dave B May 31 at 18:37
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This race is ready for playtesting.

Inconspicuous could amount to +3 points or +4 points.

Compare it to Mask of the Wild (+3 points), PHB 24:

You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.

This lets you hide in a lot of city settings and a huge variety of terrains, and provides you with significant advantages.

Even if it is a +4 you are still at 27 points which make a reasonably balanced race in theory. You should put that theory in practice.

To add more flavour you could turn your Stealthy Climber into a trait that gives you proficiency in Stealth while climbing, and expertise if you are 10 ft above a creature. This would be in line with the Inconspicuous trait.

You may want to work on this wording of the Glide trait:

If you involuntarily begin to fall (ie, not during a move action or as a consequence of finishing a glide in midair) you may use your reaction to glide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not a big deal, but it seemed like you thought it was ready for playtesting previously, too, no? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 7 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought so, this is emphasis. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu May 7 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent comparison, thank-you very much for the feedback! I agree the wording is clunky - based on the manta glide I realized that some clause for "If somebody throws you off a cliff you're probably in better shape than most", will work on the wording for sure :) \$\endgroup\$ – Dave B May 31 at 18:35

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