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I'm a pretty new player. I have played one campaign to completion and am in the middle of two other ones with two different groups. I've never made any homebrew content, and I only have a pretty basic understanding of the game from a player's perspective.

I am looking to create a homebrew race but have no idea where to start!

  • This species is a bug race with two 'factions' if you will. Each has a different appearance and a single special ability, silk weaving and a knack for sensing vibrations of the ground.

  • I have illustrations

  • I have some ideas on how their culture works

Where should I start with creating this race? What should I know?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related/Helpful: "How do I evaluate whether my homebrew race is balanced?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Oct 28 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for clarifying. I've revised the question a bit and removed the implied urgency in the original. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 28 at 21:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did you read DMG page 285 "Creating a race or subrace"? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Oct 28 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 30 at 6:17
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First things first, your best bet is to pick a race that has the same build that you want your homebrew race to be like. If you want a Dextrous build; fast, light and agile, go with an Elf, for example. If you want a strong, resilient, brutish build, start with an Orc.

Try not to look at the race itself. As bad as it sounds, each race is just a collection of numbers that have been assigned to specific things. JamesMusicus's 5e Guide to Homebrewing Races is very useful in that regard; especially when it comes to Racial traits, etc.

Main things to remember:

  • Assign a Primary Ability Score
    • This score gets +2
  • Decide on Secondary Ability Scores for Subraces
    • These scores get +1
    • If a race has no subraces, simply assign a +1 to their Secondary Score
  • Decide on features
    • Selecting features* should work like a point-buy system using the costs listed. All costs are weighed against ability score improvements.
  • Races get 2 languages for free: Common, and one other that is race-specific.

*The guide has a full list of all features currently available to most races in the 5e system, including things like flight

By following this guide, you should have something fairly well balanced for a starting race. You can then come back here and ask if it is balanced.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "your best bet is to pick a race that has the same build that you want your homebrew race to be like" This is good advice. To go further, I've found that in a great many cases, you can get a pretty good approximation by taking Human, picking the ability scores as you've noted, adding on the Magic Initiate feat with spells that do roughly what you want their racial abilities to do, and then rewriting the flavour text so that it's not spells, it's an innate ability of the creature. Quick, simple, and uses the existing rules to ensure that it's roughly balanced. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Oct 29 at 10:00
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The DMG pg. 273-289 gives guides to creating a race, subrace, monster, class, spells and magic items. There are also various websites and online guides. You have already started the process by coming up with what you did. I would suggest for you to check out the DMG.

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