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I have never made a race before, so this is my first crack at it. I imagined this race of Volcano People called Vulkaans. I guess what pops in my brain is the Vex build from Destiny, but more organic. They live in lava similar to how Tritons live in water. They are made of incredibly hard rock, and their skin is rock-like with jagged protrusions similar to fins of something like Merfolk. The males have large rock crests on their heads.

I won't go too much more into the background of all of it. Just help me balance this race out please. Is this balanced?

Vulkaan

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and Strength score by 1.

Age. Vulkaans reach maturity around the age of 100 and can live to be 800 years old.

Alignment. The Vulkaan societies keep to hard military regimens. However, Vulkaans also try to stay out of squabbles of other races. Most Vulkaans are Lawful Neutral.

Size. Your size is Large. Most Vulkaans stand between 7 and 8 feet tall and can weigh well over 250 pounds due to their rocky exterior.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 35 feet and a swimming speed of 20 feet.

Lava Origin. Due to the fact your people live under lava, you have a resistance to fire damage. However for the same reason you are vulnerable to cold damage.

Infravision. You have infravision out to 60 feet. You can see creatures and objects in this range that are Warm or hotter or Cold or colder as if it is illuminated dim light; you can see creatures and objects in this range that are Hot in a Cold or colder environment, and Frigid in a Warm or hotter environment, as if illuminated by bright light. You can't discern color, only shades of grey. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to detect creatures who are Warm or hotter in a Cold or colder environment, and Cold or colder in a Warm or hotter environment. Your infravision is blocked by 1 foot of water, ice, or snow, and by 5 feet of water-based fog.

Rock Skin. Vulkaans have a jagged rocky exterior to protect themselves. You gain no benefit from wearing armor, but if you are using a shield, you apply its bonus as normal. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. After spending a full day out of lava, you add your proficiency bonus to your AC as the rock hardens.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Primordial.

I know Infravision is an odd one, but I wanted it to make sense thematically as to how they can see under lava. And I tried to model Rock Skin to be similar to Warforged, but nerfed a hair and with a different element to it as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For future reference: How do I evaluate whether my homebrew race is balanced? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Nov 27 '19 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did try and compare it to other races, although I have not playtested it. I was hoping to get it sorted out before trying to use it. This is my attempt at getting feedback. I will try to follow that better for next time though. \$\endgroup\$ – Just Another Guy Nov 27 '19 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Last time I've seen Infravision in D&D was 2e. Is it back, or are you bringing it back? And where are temperature levels described? If some parts of this feature are already in the rules, including references would help people like me ;) not a balance concern, just making sure what are you doing there. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Nov 28 '19 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Molot I am just going to take the advice of altering darkvision to fit it. It was too complicated with all the temperature stuff \$\endgroup\$ – Just Another Guy Nov 30 '19 at 17:41
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There are three things with the class I noticed pretty quickly.

  1. Size - your size should be medium, but you can mimic Loxodons and other races that count as one size larger for determining carrying capacity, etc. This makes sure you can fit in dungeons.

    Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

  2. Rock Skin - it's far too powerful. 12 + {modifier} is a good way to go, adding proficiency as well puts every other race at a distinct disadvantage. At lvl 1 using the standard array your unarmored AC is 12 {+2} + {2} = 16. At higher levels your unarmored AC can easily hit 20+. Also, adding your proficiency to your armor because it hardens doesn't make sense from a "lore" prospective anyway. Rather than Rock Skin use:

    Natural Armor. You have rocky skin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Constitution modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

    Alternatively, you can switch the modifier. "Your AC = 12 + {dex}, after a full day out of lava your AC = 12 + {con} as it hardens." This will keep the flavor and balance intact. Personally I would say let them wear armor if they want since they need to choose between AC calculations anyway.

  3. How would a fire RESISTANT creature live in lava? This PC would never be able to enter lava to begin with without serious health concerns. They would need an immunity to fire damage (or something to explain why upon leaving the lava they can no longer go back.) Adding this would nullify the "after spending a full day out of lava" clause. Adding IMMUNITY to fire damage would certainly be overpowered.

  4. Not an "unbalanced" thing necessary, but infravision is complicated. I would just reflavor Nightvision to see heat/cold places instead of shades of gray. Keep the same ranges, but you can only see heat signatures.

    Born in volcanic caverns, you can use infrared vision to supplement your normal vision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can not distinguish color, but see everything in shades of blue and red while using this vision.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So for the heat resistant one i know it doesnt make sense entirely, but as you said immunity to fire would be outright overpowered. That was the compromise that had to be made. Is it unbalanced though? \$\endgroup\$ – Just Another Guy Nov 27 '19 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also i like the modification going from AC + Dex to AC + Const. That gives me what i want to keep the flavor. Excellent suggestion! I will use the other suggestions, I think the fire resistant thing will just have to be as is. If you could provide a suggestion for infrared rewording, I will give you the answer. About to go look at that myself. \$\endgroup\$ – Just Another Guy Nov 27 '19 at 23:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about this: "Accustomed to living in lava, you have infrared vision to see in extreme environments. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can discern colors of heat signature differences." \$\endgroup\$ – Just Another Guy Nov 28 '19 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just an idea, maybe lava affinity that would give them fire immunity if and only if they were submerged in lava? And resistance outside of it? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Nov 28 '19 at 7:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding changing "infravision" to darkvision, check out the Fire Genasi's darkvision: "Your ties to the Elemental Plane of Fire make your darkvision unusual: everything you see in darkness is in a shade of red." Borrowing that might be enough to make this race's darkvision "feel" more like infravision? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Nov 28 '19 at 12:36

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