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woman with flower/plant based clothes, holding a long spear

These beautiful, slim women ride on large deer, their hair the color of spring grass, skin like polished wood, and eyes as gray as a coming storm.

Every once in a while a vila is born different than the rest of her sisters, living a much shorter but more independent life. All vila are females.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Vila Solus like the rest of the other Vila are beautiful to behold. While a Vila has cold hard feature, the rare Vila Solus has soft delicate features.

Vila Solus Names Their names tend to identify with flowers:

Female: Daisey, Lily, Rose, Zinnia

TRAITS

Your vila solus character has the following traits:

Creature Type: You are Fey.

Ability Score Increase: You have a +2 to CHA and a +1 to WIS.

Age. Vila Solus mature much as a human but can live up to 200 years, retaining their vitality even into their venerable years.

Alignment. Unlike her lawful neutral sisters, Vila Solus have a tendency for good and with their love of independence are often chaotic good.

Size. Vila Solus are a bit shorter than humans, from 4'8" to 5'6". They are usually thin of frame. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

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

Photosynthesis. You do not need to eat food as long as you have at least 4 hours of daylight each day and have access to a skin of fresh, clean water and two handfuls of soil.

Plant Camouflage. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks you make in any terrain with ample obscuring plant life.

Poison Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

Forest Magic. You know the Druidcraft cantrip. You can cast Speak with Plants once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest.

Winter Weakness. You have disadvantage in saving throws against cold, and you have vulnerability against cold damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack, AL. Take the tour when you have a moment. I recommend reading through our homebrew review guidance and incorporating some of the recommended information into your question here. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2021 at 1:42

1 Answer 1

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On numbers alone it is underpowered due to one trait

Like with many other homebrew review questions, let's begin by seeing what the Detect Balance scale has to say:

  • Creature type: being something other than humanoid can give you certain advantages when it comes to humanoid targeting effects. Extra 2 points

  • Ability score increase: ASI +3, standard to many official races. Extra 12 points

  • Age, Alignment, Size and Speed: all seem standard. They don't cause any noticeable impact that would give the race an edge, especially since your size is medium and your speed 30 ft. Extra 0 points.

  • Languages: common and an extra language. Again, it's standard. Extra 0 points.

  • Photosynthesis: if I understood correctly, this one essentially ties in the need to eat to the need to rest, and it's essentially a trance that also feeds you if you have access to dirt, water and sunlight (although not necessarily at the same time), but the wording leads me to believe that you can eat food if sunlight isn't present. I'd say it gets between 2 and 3 points. While it can deny the need to eat under the right conditions, it is still limited to the availability of sunlight and willingness of the party to take a long rest during the day (simply having the ability to trance instead of sleeping and not needing food at all to survive would already cost 3 points, so I'd label this as a sometimes useful feature, since normally during the pacing of adventures and within caves and dungeons the special effect is essentially non-existent).

  • Plant camouflage: I'd count it as an advantage on a situational roll, as it is reliant on a specific kind of terrain and thus is useless in, say, a city or barren mountain. Extra 2 points.

  • Poison resistance: this is a renamed Dwarven resilience. Extra 5 points.

  • Druid magic: you get a cantrip. Extra 2 points.

  • Winter weakness: medium vulnerability. Minus 16 points (this is not a good thing. While it ties in well with the theme of the character, it's not a rare vulnerability, and unless your DM is a blessing chances are that any enemy that can exploit this weakness will do so. To put it in perspective, if you have 20 hp and is fighting against someone who deals cold damage in every attack, for this fight your hp is functionally 10,because all attacks that exploit the vulnerability deal double damage).

So, by looking at the points alone, your character gets 8 points at most, while characters that are considered balanced get between 24 and 26 and the score of official races is closer to 29 on average. The weakness you gave it single-handedly brings down the maximum score from 24 to 8.

Normally when people give weaknesses or debuffs to homebrewed races (myself included) it tends to be as a way to try to adjust the math and allow for the addition of other potentially powerful traits that would "cost" a lot in the balance score. In your case however, the weakness seems to be completely meant to match the theme of plant-like humanoid, except it makes it extremely underpowered, especially when compared with other official races.

To give you a better idea: let's look at the high elves, since they share a few similar traits with your race:

  • ASI: +2 to dexterity and + 1 to intelligence.

  • Have darkvision of 60 feet.

  • Have proficiency in the perception skill.

  • Have the trance ability, although it doesn't have the special effect regarding eating.

  • Can pick a cantrip of their choice instead of a pre-selected one.

  • Can pick an extra language in addition to the 2 languages they already come with.

Their Balance score is 27.

So summing up: The race seems fairly underpowered as is. The first thing to do, without a doubt, would be to remove the cold vulnerabilities and disadvantages, as they do little more than accentuate the flavor of the race a bit and unnecessarily make it a terrible match for almost any campaign that includes cold environments and/or less than rare enemies that deal cold damage. Removing that alone would already leave the race's maximum score within the score range of a balanced homebrew race, and you'd probably sill have room for the addition of at least one extra ribbon ability.

Needs playtest

Once you're done making changes, if you feel like asking about it again (remember to ask a new question instead of editing this one), then I'd advise you to not repeat the mistake me and other users have made: try play-testing it with your group before asking a new question about it. See how it feels to play this race and share your experience and thoughts on whether you considered it to be over or underpowered. Maybe playtesting it alone can be enough to help you determine, through the help of your party, if it's already satisfactory and do the final balancing adjustments.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if emphasizing this fact would improve the answer: "Removing that alone would already leave the race's maximum score within the score range of a balanced homebrew race". It is underpowered but almost entirely because of one feature. Feel free to leave the answer as is though, +1 from me \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2021 at 15:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would perhaps replace the vulnerability disadvantage trait with a modification to the photosynthesis trait. For instance make it take longer in the weaker sunlight of the winter, 8 hours perhaps. This would require the character to either do far less and hibernate, much as most plants do, or eat normally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Jul 6, 2021 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Protonflux honestly if some kind of disadvantage is necessary for extra flavor, I'd instead just give them a disadvantage on dexterity checks for hiding if they're in a snowy regions where their bright lively colors would stick out. The fact that the special effect of photosynthesis requires the PC to take a long rest during the day and in a place where the sun shines properly seems like a good limiter already, and even if there was a way to exploit it we'd just have a race that can trance and doesn't eat food, but is still at the "minimum" score for a balanced race. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 6, 2021 at 14:19

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