Could you please evaluate the below race in terms of balance issues? I am trying to keep it at ECL 0 but some of the qualities while minor are a bit difficult to evaluate when combined.
Ability: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma.
Speed: 30 feet.
Immunity (1): To magic sleep spells and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against Enchantment spells & effects.
Immunity (2): To normal disease and +2 racial saving throw bonus against magical disease spells & effects.
Senses (1): Low-light Vision.
Senses (2): +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. Do NOT gain the automatic search check within 5’ that standard Player’s Handbook elves receive.
Weapons: Proficient with longsword, shortbow, longbow, composite longbow, and composite shortbow.
Sleep: Elves do not require sleep (but can do an elven version if they desire it). Instead they need to only rest (light activities such as keeping watch) for the same amount of time as a human sleeps (eight hours).
Timeless: Immortal (in regards to aging). Do not suffer penalties from aging (still receive bonuses) (Fluff:- Can be killed but otherwise can live forever).
Nature Stride: May move in natural terrain without leaving any tracks as per the Pass Without Trace Spell and with their normal movement rate and without suffering any damage or penalty.
Automatic Language: Sidhelien. Bonus Languages : As per Campaign.
Favored Class: Choose any one arcane spellcasting class (Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard).
Alignment Restriction: Must follow a non-lawful alignment.
Infamous Reputation (Alien Mein)**: Sidhelien receive a -4 racial penalty to Diplomacy and Gather Information and a +4 racial bonus to Intimidate.
Soulless (1)**: Cannot be raised by Raise Dead or Resurrection, only by a Wish or Miracle same as Outsiders.
Soulless (2)**: Cannot be a member of classes which channel Divine power such as clerics, druids or paladins. May become a non-spellcasting variant of a ranger.
The experienced ones among you might recognise this race as a conversion of the elves in the 2E Campaign Setting "Birthright". I've always preferred this version of elves over others as they seem more "Tolkien-esque" then the ones in the PHB. Immortal, Not needing to sleep, moving without trace etc. I've used them in 3.5 Birthright games but want to use them in other settings (being a planar traveller or something) so was concerned about balance issues. (Let me put it this way: In Birthright Halflings could basically Detect Evil/Undead/Magic at will and use Dimension Door or Shadow Walk three times a week.)
Race Details & Changes From Normal Elves:
- They have an unbalanced ability bonus (3x +2 attributes and 2x -2 attributes) but according to the DMG on page 173, a Strength penalty is worth a bonus to Intelligence AND Charisma while Dexterity and Constitution are given equal weight.
- They are immune to normal disease and slightly resistant to magical disease. My personal experience in games is that normal disease was never a problem for characters so I don't think the immunity is an big advantage. The resistance to magical disease might be but I don't know how much to weigh the +2 bonus.
- They do not gain the automatic search check that normal elves receive. My personal experience... this is not a big penalty at all (or an advantage for that matter).
- Not requiring sleep: In all honesty I do not know exactly how to weigh this. While Sidhelien do not need to sleep or trance they do require rest for the full eight hours a human does (not four hours), on the other hand how often does this come up in games?
- Immortality, this is almost pure fluff as I have never seen any character/campaign last long enough for age penalties/bonuses without a timeskip where we also prepare their replacement characters.
- Nature Stride, this is perhaps the most obvious and biggest boost. The Sidhelien get what is effectively a 1st level spell and also the ability to ignore terrain penalties in natural environments but is it worth a level adjustment?
- As per the Birthright setting, Sidhelien are fairly chaotic and cannot be lawful at all.
- Again as per the Birthright setting, Sidhelien cannot be members of divine classes and practically never worship deities (They are all faithless...).
- Infamous Reputation: This came from 3.0 BRCS (a fan-made conversion of 2E Birthright) as a way to give penalties to the Sidhelien race. In 3.0 BRCS, this was justified as the Sidhelien had waged war against practically every humanoid race. As I intend to use a character of this race in other settings I was going to change the justification to Sidhelien being a bit in-human that despite being humanoid there was just something in the way they moved, spoke and behaved that was a bit alien that struck people as intimidating because they otherwise looked normal.
- Resurrect like Outsiders, partly to simulate Tolkien and partly to reflect certain revelations that came in one of the last splat books for Birthright. This is a penalty if your group handles character death strictly.
So is it balanced for ECL 0?
I know it's on the high end for ECL 0 (and definitely better than normal elves, but I don't see normal elves being that popular for their abilities - they are more popular for being elves). That being said, if you really think they need further penalties are needed, then could you please consider the following:
Breaking Nature Stride into two abilities and delaying them to 3rd (No Terrain Penalty) and 5th level (Pass without trace) of whichever class the Sidhelien PC takes?
Beneficial Divine Spells cast on you function suffer a penalty of 2 Caster level. If this lowers the caster level below the minimum required for the spell, the spell fails to affect the character. This does not apply towards Druid spells (due to nature connection).
If the above are not suitable, then any ideas would be welcome.