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*I've built a homebrew race for born lycanthropes of different varieties. I've referenced the Order of the Lycan Blood Hunter class and NPC Werewolves while I was building it and used my imagination for some of the other strains of Lycanthropy (Weredrake, Bat, Etc.)

I had three aims while making this race:

  • My first aim was to have all the different types of Lycanthropy be obviously part of the same group. Each offers something a little different in terms of their feel and what they offer mechanically.
  • The second aim was to convey that Lycanthropy was both a powerful gift and an impractical curse in the life of a person, making it difficult for them to live in society and dangerous at times to be around others. Mechanically, having a hybrid form that comes with some drawbacks, and a full stronger form that comes with much stronger drawbacks and risks, and that isn't voluntarily accessible until a higher level.
  • My third aim was conveying that as a born lycanthrope they could slowly learn to control the curse over time if they wished to try, and as a result function more normally in everyday life.

Are the benefits and drawbacks well balanced? Does the flavor match the mechanical decisions? The aim, while making sure the race isn't OP is to have some strong abilities that balance out with some major drawbacks rather than nerfing it to have small benefits and small drawbacks.*


Born Lycanthrope Race Details

One of the most ancient and feared of all curses, lycanthropy can transform the most civilized humanoid into a ravening beast. In its natural humanoid form, a creature cursed by lycanthropy appears as its normal self. Over time, however, many lycanthropes acquire features suggestive of their animal form. In their animal form, a lycanthrope resembles a powerful, bipedal version of a normal animal, its eyes show a spark of unnatural intelligence and might glow yellow or red in the dark. Evil lycanthropes hide among normal folk, emerging in animal form at night to spread terror and bloodshed, especially under a full moon. Good lycanthropes are reclusive and uncomfortable around other civilized creatures, often living alone in wilderness areas far from villages and towns.

Curse of Lycanthropy

Being born as a Lycanthrope, you have dealt with the shift for most of your life, the changes often appearing around puberty, as a natural-born lycanthrope you can be freed of the curse only with a wish. As a born lycanthrope you can more easily control the curse. Despite this inherent mastery, you still feel the pull of the beast within when the moon is fullest or your heart races.

You can either resist your curse or embrace it. By resisting the curse, a lycanthrope retains its normal alignment and personality while in humanoid form. It lives its life as it always has, burying deep the bestial urges raging inside it. However, when the full moon rises, the curse becomes too strong to resist, transforming the individual into its beast form - or into a horrible hybrid form that combines animal and humanoid traits. When the moon wanes, the beast within can be controlled once again. Especially if the cursed creature is unaware of its condition, it might not remember the events of its transformation, though those memories often haunt a lycanthrope as bloody dreams.

Some individuals see little point in fighting the curse and accept what they are. With time and experience, they learn to master their shapechanging ability and can assume their beast form or hybrid form at will. Most lycanthropes that choose to embrace their bestial nature succumb to bloodlust, becoming evil, opportunistic creatures that prey on the weak.


Born Lycanthrope Traits

Born Lycanthropes have different traits depending on the strain they are infected with, but all share these traits:

Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution increases by 2.

Age: Lycanthropes age at 4/5 of the rate of their original race.

Alignment: Lycanthropes cover a large spread of alignments and tend toward no one alignment in paticular. Those who view it as a curse and aim to control it tend to be Lawful or Neutral alignments and those who view it as a gift to be used tend towards Evil or Chaotic alignments.

Size: Lycanthropes very as much as all other races in their humanoid form, from lithe agile Werecats to tall hulking Werebears and stocky Wereboars. Regardless of your position in that range, your size is Medium.

Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet in humanoid form.

Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Humans typically learn the languages of other peoples they deal with, including obscure dialects. They are fond of sprinkling their speech with words borrowed from other tongues: Orc curses, Elvish musical expressions, Dwarvish military phrases, and so on. You can also speak to animals of a similar type as your form of lycanthropy while you are in your hybrid and full forms.

Cursed Constitution: You have resistancd Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks not made With Silvered Weapons. Also, starting at 11th Level, you regain HP equal to 1+your constitution modifier at the beginning of each of your turns.


Shapechanging and Controlling the Shift

You hide a bestial nature within you, and when you shift that nature comes to the fore. As a bonus action, you may shift into your hybrid form or your full form. Your full form is stronger than your hybrid form but you have less control and cannot speak.
Involuntary shifting can occur when you are angry, stressed, or sustain large amounts of damage. The first two causes are up to the discretion of your DM and should be discussed prior to the campaign.

  1. You must make an involuntary shifting check at the start of each turn you are below half your hit point total.
  2. You must succeed on a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw to resist letting your bloodlust take over, if you fail the saving throw, you lose control for a minimum of ten minutes, and the DM takes control of your character as you attack the closest creature to you. You roll another
  3. Wisdom saving throw every ten minutes to attempt to regain control with the DC reducing by 1 each time until you succeed. The DC increases by 4 when you are below a quarter of your hitpoint maximum.

During the full moon, the beast within you grows stronger, giving you less control over your shifting. Starting 4 days before the full moon, the Save DC increases by 1 with each day approaching the full moon up to a maximum of +5 on the night of the full moon. It then decreases in the same way after the full moon has passed. On the night of the Full Moon, the Wisdom Save must be made regardless of circumstances.

It is possible for Lycanthropes to gain greater control over the bestial rage within them. Each time you succeed on the mandatory saving throw during the Full Moon, the Save DC decreases by 2 for all future shifting checks as you use your experience of resisting the full moon to control yourself more completely in the future. Eventually, you may automatically succeed the save in everyday circumstances as the save DC will reduce to 0. The bonuses to the DC caused by being below a quarter of your hitpoints and the presence of the full moon still remain.

Partial and Full Shift You may use a bonus action to partially shift into your Hybrid Form. From 8th level, you can use an Action to voluntarily shift into your full Bestial Form.

If you spend time in your full bestial form you must make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 14 + the number of full hours you spent in your fully shifted form. On a fail, you accrue a point of exhaustion, and you cannot voluntarily fully shift until after a long rest.


Strains of Lycanthropy

There are six different strains of lycanthropy; Werewolf, Werecat, Werebear, Weredrake, Werebat, and Wereboar. Depending on the strain of lycanthropy you are infected with you gain different bonuses:

Born Werewolf Traits
Your strain of Lycanthropy is Canine, commonly a Wolf but other species, such as Hyena's are seen. You gain the following benefits;
Keen Senses: You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Sight, Hearing and Smell.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +1 to your Strength and a +1 to your Dexterity.
Darkvision: 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.
Shifting: You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. From 8th level you may voluntarily assume your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form:

  • You take on a more bestial appearance.
  • You make Athletics, Acrobatics, and Intimidation Checks with advantage.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your strength modifier.
  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • You can use pack tactics to gain an advantage on attack rolls against a creature if the creature has one of your allies within 5 feet, and the ally isn't incapacitated.

Full Form

  • You grow taller, your body becoming covered in thick fur, your limbs elongating and you're features becoming completely Lupine as you shift into a monstorus bipedal Wolf form.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You make Constitution saving throws with advantage.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of thesame type (2d6).
  • You gain a bite attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d8 + your strength modifier.
  • A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • Your walking speed increases by another 10 feet.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You gain an extra attack as part of the Attack action on your turn if don't already have one.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control.

Born Werecat Traits
Your strain of Lycanthropy is Feline, perhaps reminiscent of a panther or even a mighty lion. You gain the following benefits;
Keen Senses: You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Hearing or Sight.
Ability Score Increase: You gain a +2 bonus to your Dexterity score.
Superior Darkvision: You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 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.
Shifting: You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. Or your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form:

  • You take on a more bestial appearance.
  • You gain a natural AC equal to 13 + your dexterity modifier.
  • You make Acrobatics checks with advantage.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your strength modifier.
  • Your walking speed increases by 15 feet.
  • You gain a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.

Full Form

  • You grow taller and more muscular, covered in velvety, your limbs and digits elongating and you're features becoming completely Feline as you shift into a Lithe and Ferocious bipedal Cat form.
  • Your natural AC increases to 15 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You make Dexterity saving throws with advantage.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of the same type (2d6).
  • You gain a bite attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d8 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • Your walking speed increases by a further 15 feet.
  • Your jumping distance is doubled.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You gain an extra attack as part of the Attack action on your turn if don't already have one.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control.

Born Werebear Traits

Your strain of Lycanthropy is Ursine, perhaps taking the form of the powerful grizzly or the ferocious polar bear. You gain the following benefits;

Keen Senses You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Smell.

Ability Score Improvement You gain a +2 bonus to your Strength score.

Darkvision 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.

Shifting You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. Or your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form

  • You take on a more bestial appearance.
  • You gain a natural AC equal to 13 + Constitution modifier.
  • You make Athletics checks with advantage.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d8 + your strength modifier.
  • Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.

Full Form

  • You grow taller and more muscular, covered in thick fur, your limbs elongating and you're features becoming completely Ursine as you shift into a monstorus bipedal bear form.
  • Your natural AC increases to 15 + your Constitution modifier.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You make Stength and Constitution saving throws with advantage.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of the same type (2d8).
  • You gain a bite attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d10 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • Your walking speed increases by a further 5 feet.
  • You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the amount of weight you can push or drag.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control

Born Weredrake Traits

Your strain of Lycanthropy is Basilicine, exhibiting many reptilian traits, commonly of a drake, lizard or salamander. You gain the following benefits;

Keen Senses You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Sight, and Smell (which you do by tasting the air with your tongue).

Ability Score Improvement You gain a +1 bonus to your Strength score and a +1 Bonus to your Dexterity Score.

Darkvision 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.

Shifting You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. Or your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form

  • You take on a more reptilian appearance.
  • You gain a natural AC equal to 16 + Constitution modifier.
  • You gain resistance to poison damage.
  • You make Athletics, Acrobatics, and Intimidation checks with Advantage.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your strength modifier.
  • You gain an attack with your tail as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d4 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy. If the target is Large or smaller they must succeed on a Strength saving throw against a DC equal to 6 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier, or you push it up to 10 feet away from you.
  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • You gain a climbing speed and swimming speed equal to your walking speed.

Full Form

  • You grow several feet taller, your skin becoming covered in hard scales as your tail elongates and you grow spikes along your spine, your features controt into a reptilian Maw as you assume the form of a monstrous, bipedal Lizard
  • Your natural AC increases to 18 + your Dexterity Modifier.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You gain immunity to the poisoned condition.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of the same type (2d6).
  • You gain a Bite attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d8 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • As a bonus action, you can secrete a venom onto your claws that on a hit causes Paralysis against a DC 12 Constitution saving throw.
  • Your walking speed increases by a further 10 feet.
  • You can climb on vertical surfaces and ceilings.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control.

Born Werebat Traits

Your strain of Lycanthropy is Noctilionine, with bat-like features and large leathery wings. You gain the following benefits;

Keen Senses You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Hearing.

Ability Score Increase You gain a +2 bonus to your Dexterity score.

Darkvision 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.

Shifting You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. Or your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form

  • You take on a more bestial appearance. Your Fingers Elongating into batlike wings, and your ears enlarging.
  • You gain a natural AC equal to 13 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • You gain a flying speed of 30 feet while not wearing heavy armor, you cannot hover or use weapons or shields while flying.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your strength modifier.
  • You gain a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • You also gain a 30 foot blindsense by emitting a pitched noise and echolocating.

Full Form

  • You grow several feet taller. Your body becomes covered in thick fur, your arms grow into fully formed batwings with small claws, your features shift and become more batlike as you assume your true form.
  • Your natural AC increases to 15 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You make Dexterity saving throws with advantage.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of the same type (1d4).
  • You gain a bite attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d6 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • Your flying speed increases to 50 feet.
  • Your blindsense increases to 60 feet.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You gain an extra attack as part of the Attack action on your turn if don't already have one.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control.

Born Wereboar Traits

Your strain of Lycanthropy is Porcine, Wild Boar and Warthog like features are common. You gain the following benefits;

Keen Senses You gain Expertise in the Perception skill. And you have an advantage on any perception checks relying on Smell.

Ability Score Improvement You gain a +2 bonus to your Strength score.

Darkvision You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 30 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.

Shifting You may assume your hybrid form as a bonus action. Or your full form as an action.

Hybrid Form

  • You take on a more bestial appearance.
  • You gain a natural AC equal to 15 + Constitution modifier.
  • You gain resistance to poison damage.
  • You make Athletics and Intimidation checks with Advantage.
  • You can use your claws to make an attack as a natural weapon dealing slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your strength modifier.
  • Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.

Full Form

  • You grow several feet taller and considerably broader. Tufts of thick wiry hair cover your body, Long tusks sprout from your jaw as your face forms into a snout and your feet become semi cloven hooves. You fully assume the form of a monstrous humanoid Boar.
  • Your natural AC increases to 17 + your Constitution modifier.
  • Your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase by 2.
  • You gain immunity to the poisoned condition.
  • Your Claw attacks deal one extra damage die of the same type (2d8).
  • You gain a Tusk attack as a bonus action dealing damage equal to 1d12 + your strength modifier. A humanoid damaged by this attack must succeed a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Lycanthropy.
  • If you move at least 20 feet on your turn, your horns deal an additional 1d12 damage. If the target is Large or smaller they must succeed on a Strength saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier, you push it up to 10 feet away from you and get knocked prone.
  • Your walking speed increases by a further 5 feet.
  • You cannot speak.
  • You cannot hold items, wear armor, or cast spells.
  • You must make a DC 8 Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of your turns to remain in control.

Do the overall race and the individual subraces offer sufficiently different things? Do the drawbacks more or less effectivley counterbalance the benefits?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to our stack! Please take the tour to learn more about how we operate and you can also visit the help center for more information. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Nov 13 '20 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seeing as these are multiple designs using the same design pattern, it would probably be better to choose one of these for now and narrow this down to just asking about it. This should give you a clearer, more focused answer covering any issues with the design pattern (structures of the features and scoping thereof) which should be reapplicable to all the designs. You should be able to (later) follow up with the rest of the designs (whether as one or as multiple questions, not sure which would be best suited, but that's not vital for now). \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Nov 13 '20 at 15:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ You’ll want to clear up what you mean by "balanced". \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Nov 13 '20 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ HS, are you asking if these are balanced against each other, or versus all other playable races? I ask that in part because three of the playable races / variants, are not allowed in Adventurer's League games: Yuan ti, Aaracokra, Tiefling(winged variant). So even with all of the other playable races, "balancing" is a bit of a tricky thing. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 13 '20 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cubic For this case, the reason for asking that clarification is that these options being balanced to each other and being balanced against the PHB/Official options are different questions. If asking the first one, how powerful they are as a whole isn't relevant, only to each other. I've trimmed the latter half for you, with one of the possible balance options, it is an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Nov 13 '20 at 16:22
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It is way overpowered

Base characteristics

In general, 5e races are not that impactful. They give some ability score bonuses, some proficiencies, and some minor benefits. Contrast this with your race which, even disregarding subraces, has two parts that both individually would be stronger than all the benefits of any other race. These are:

You have resistancd Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing From Nonmagical Attacks Not Made With Silvered Weapons.

and

starting at 11th Level, you regain HP equal to 1+your constitution modifier at the beginning of each of your turns.

The first of these is simply very strong, to the point that you take half damage from most attacks, at least in low-level play. The second, apart from giving healing in combat, gives full HP between fights. This is entirely contrary to the design of 5e, which is built as a resource management game, and should therefore under no circumstance include infinite resources (healing). The first has as its closest parallel resistance to necrotic, fire or poison damage that some races get, and the second has no parallel in races at all.

The healing does have some comparable class features, as an 18th level Champion Fighter automatically heals to half health, but note that healing to half health, as opposed to full, does not completely negate health-as-a-resource, as a Champion will still have to use some form of healing (hit dice, healing spells, long rest) in order to attain their maximum survivability. There is also the UA Wild Soul Barbarian who could create infinite resources through its 6th level feature, but this was likely an oversight and will not become an officially published class.

Size, languages, +2 con, speed and age all seem fine to me.

Subraces

The subraces give some normal benefits, such as darkvision and keen senses. These are fine. They also give two more ability score increases, which puts them at the higher end of races. This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the other strong aspects.

Hybrid forms

These are very strong, but are not the worst offenders still. Some of them give flying or climbing speed, some give very high natural AC, some give yet more resistances, some give much higher movement, some give advantage on skill checks, and the biggest offenders give pack tactics or bonus action attacks.

This is all too much on an already packed race.

Full forms

Here we let go of all balance concerns.

As an example, the wereboar now has natural weapons stronger than any non-magical weapon (2d8), and it can do an even stronger attack as a bonus action, which not only deals 2d12 damage, but can also displace, prone and curse an enemy. It gets 6(!) more ability score increases, and gets natural armor for an AC of 23 if it has maxed out CON. To top it off, it has poison immunity.

This is all simply too strong. Any part of it on its own would be too strong (except I suppose poison immunity), and all together it is certainly too strong.

The drawback

As for the drawback I largely agree with Dan B's answer, that the drawback mechanic does not work. Indeed, the drawback tends to hurt allies more than the lycanthrope itself. It also gives more work to the DM, who will occasionally have to control a PC, and it also stops happening at some point, as eventually the drawback disappears.

However, although there are problems with the implementation of the drawback, there is also the more fundamental problem that drawbacks don't really work. Consider a theoretical drawback that is both fun and makes the race on average about as good as published races. That means that every combat where this drawback does not trigger or matters less, the lycanthrope is way, way stronger than other party members. If the drawback does inflict its woes, suddenly the party is handicapped to such a degree that they cannot overcome obstacles that they reasonably should be able to conquer. This makes it impossible to balance encounters, and perhaps even worse, puts the lycanthrope in the spotlight all the time, which takes away from the enjoyment of the other players.

You say that you don't want small benefits and drawbacks, but unfortunately that is the only way to make a balanced 5e race.

Comparison to other races

Comparing the lycanthrope to other races directly is essentially impossible, because of the sheer amount of features. So, let's compare the amount of features.

For the amount of features of the lycanthrope, I largely refer to the question and the rest of the answer. There's several features of the base race, combined with complicated rules for (in)voluntary shifting, then there are features for each subrace, for each hybrid form, and for each full form.

Compare this with, say, the tiefling. The tiefling has ability score increases, darkvision, two languages, resistance to fire damage and three spells. That's it. This is roughly the amount of features races have in 5e, and this is what it's balanced for. What you're trying to do is simply impossible.

How to make a lycanthrope

So then, what to do with the idea of making a lycanthrope? I recommend one of two things. First, you could simply redesign it all, placing a heavy emphasis on flavor but being extremely conservative with features that affect combat prowess. Second, you could try making the idea into a class. Classes are "allowed" to be much stronger, as it is where most of the power of a PC comes from. To do so you will still need to scale it down significantly to start with, but with more levels can come more powerful abilities.

Of course, NPC creatures have no real concern for balance, so you could certainly turn it into something to fight against, as opposed to something to fight as.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The class option is probably the better approach and makes more sense in some ways. A lyancrothope was one of the races to begin with, for instance a tiefling, elf, human or dwarf may have the curse. Therefore you are better off having your players pick a race first and then pick this as a class, you could imagine a wearwolf living in the wilds trying to keep people safe. I would also question the wear creature being evil and losing control, I would suggest you allow your players to have full control and be whatever alignment they wish to be but maybe have 2 stat lines. Normal and wear \$\endgroup\$ – Richard C Nov 18 '20 at 21:45
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You've written:

The aim, while making sure the class isn't too OP is to have some really strong abilities that balance out with some big drawbacks rather than nerfing it to have small benefits and small drawbacks.

so I don't want to spend too much time telling you that this grants some really strong abilities. You already know that.

What I do want to point out is that the main drawback you've assigned is "you'll frequently go berserk and attack your allies". That's not actually a disadvantage for you; it's a disadvantage for your allies!

The disadvantage that should be applied to this race is: "nobody wants to be your ally, because you keep going berserk and trying to kill them." But that's not going to work in practice, because this is D&D-5e, and the game assumes that all the player characters are allies and are traveling together. The other players at the table can't say: "hey, I don't want to have this other player's character in our adventuring party because it keeps trying to kill my character." That would be equivalent to trying to uninvite the player from the D&D game, and everyone would see it as super rude.

So instead you've got a situation where a player shows up to the D&D table and says: "hello, my character is super OP in combat, but the drawback is that my character will spend a lot of time trying to kill your characters, and you can't get mad or kill my character in self-defense, because it's not really my character's fault, it's just a curse that we all have to live with."

And the risk is that the other players will say: "I don't want to play in this game any more."


I'm sorry, but I don't see a way to assign a "real" drawback to the lycanthrope race you're trying to build. The "full form" bonuses you're handing out are so good that I don't think there's a way to balance them with drawbacks.

You might be able to use this by just having a game where everyone is a lycanthrope, so the "go berserk and attack my allies" would at least be spread evenly across the team.


I also want to note that a lot of players are going to say: "hey, my character is a lycanthrope, but they've been alive and resisting the curse for years, so they've already reduced the shifting DC to zero by making saves on the night of the full moon, before the game began." I assume you don't want to allow that, but I'm not sure how you're going to avoid it, given the rules you've laid out.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the feedback guys definitely see the point about the beserk drawback, not sure where I can take it that is a REAL risk to the player. My aim was to make the full form feel like a real apex predator, something that was super powerful and at the absolute top of the bestial food chain but with it's own weaknesses and difficulties, similar to what vampires are in a different way, but I recognize the lack of applicable weakness to the PC is a problem, at least with vampires you have the classic silver, stakes and holy water thing. Thanks anyway guys I appreciate it. \$\endgroup\$ – HSimpo98 Nov 13 '20 at 16:22
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Just play a Shifter instead.

The problem of lycanthropes being too strong to be viable player characters was noted by the game’s developers as far back as DND 3.5, and the development of the Shifter race for the Eberron Campaign Setting was a deliberate response to that, in order to create a playable lycanthrope character race.

They’ve been updated to DND 5e with the release of Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and remain a much more viable option for playing a lycanthrope PC than something like your overpowered homebrew. If you want one to play as a berserking, animalistic apex predator, then just play a Shifter Barbarian and pick an appropriate subclass.

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