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In a similar vein to these two questions, I've made my own Dryad race, but without subraces for right now. I based the very basics off of tieflings, but replaced the damage resistance with the Speech of Beast and Leaf and Fey traits, as well as modifying the spells gotten in the tiefling three-tier spell progression; finally, I modified the languages known, and the +1 to Int went to Wis instead.

Is this race balanced when compared to officially published races?

If it is too weak, I was considering making the Speech of Beast and Leaf trait just make the dryad always under the effect of Speak with Animals spell, and grant a similar effect for plants. If they were still too weak, I was also considering adding either Charm Person or some other charm effect. If they were too strong, I'd get rid of one or two of the Forest Legacy spells.

Sapling Dryad

Speed. 30 ft.
Ability Bonuses. CHA 2, WIS 1
Age. Dryads mature much slower than most other races, and live much longer. They achieve maturity at age 100 and may live indefinitely if they are not killed. Most Saplings are between 50 and 200 years old.
Alignment. Dryads generally do not care for much outside their forests, but those that do are usually Good aligned.
Size. Dryads are usually slightly shorter than most humans. Your size is medium.
Darkvision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. 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't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Speech of Beast and Leaf. You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with beasts and plants. They can understand the meaning of your words, and can respond by communicating simple ideas.
Forest Legacy. You know the Druidcraft cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the entangle spell as a 2nd-level spell; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the pass without trace spell; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Fey. You have two creature types: humanoid and fey. Because of this, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Sylvan.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there any other creature in the game that has two types? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Sep 24 '20 at 9:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Centaurs have just the Fey creature type, but no other race does that I know of; I should probably stipulate that a dual type like this means that you can be affected by both \$\endgroup\$ – L0neGamer Sep 24 '20 at 9:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean entangle as a second level spell? It is first level and doesn't upcast. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Sep 24 '20 at 10:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't expect a dryad to be able to read/write. Even if they learned as a player, I would be surprised if there was a written form of the dryad language. \$\endgroup\$ – Verdan Sep 24 '20 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related to the multiple creature types: Are there any creatures that have more than one "creature type"? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Sep 25 '20 at 9:27
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Yes, this is balanced at a theoretical level

Tiefling isn't particularly powerful, as far as races go. This race is better than tiefling-- all the trades you made are slightly advantageous, and they have one additional minor ability that goes unmentioned in your self-review-- but they aren't as strong as the Yuan-Ti, for example. I'd put them roughly on par with the Variant Human: they get stuff that it's practically impossible to replicate without taking this race, but they get only one or two minor bonuses to things outside their main specialization (in this case, plant stuff).

This matches up pretty well with a rough calculation via the musicus race guide. Changing the gnome speak with small beasts ability from .5 to 1 point, and charging 1.5 for the new better spell slate, we get a score of 7.5 for the race: on-par with Mountain Dwarves and Drow (the strongest PHB races by the numbers, neglecting Variant Human).

In practice, I imagine this race will be even a bit stronger than that; talking to plants is a bigger deal than talking to animals in most campaigns, by more than double, as you can tell on account of the gap between Speak with Animals and Speak with Plants (though, note the latter's added combat utility)

At this point, playtesting would be the best method to further investigate the race's balance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So you would say that the better spells and better plant/beast communication are the biggest buffs to this race? \$\endgroup\$ – L0neGamer Sep 24 '20 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ The biggest buff over the tiefling specifically is having a consistent theme. the tiefling's magic is 1.5 points also, the difference in spell quality isn't enough to make a difference at that granularity. the better plant communication is the main benefit of the race. other advantages over tiefling include not dying of old age, not int as the secondary stat, and an extra language \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 24 '20 at 20:08

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