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Grovekeepers are a race of treefolk in my own homebrew setting. They were created by the god of nature to shepherd animals and plants. I'm somewhat worried that the race might be a touch too strong.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom scores each increase by 1.
  • Age. Most Grovekeepers recall the time when gods walked the land. They mature at around 40 years old and can live up to more than a thousand years.
  • Size. Grovekeepers tower over most other races, but aren't quite as tall as their Treant cousins. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Rooted. You have advantage on any ability checks or saving throws made to resist moving you or knocking you prone.
  • Chlorophyll. You do not need to eat as long as you are exposed to 1 hour of sunlight each day.
  • Barkhide. You have tough bark instead of 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.
  • Kindling. When you are hit with an attack or fail a saving throw against an effect that deals fire damage, you take an additional 1d4 fire damage.
  • Mighty Oak. Starting at 3rd level, you gain the ability to assume a massive tree-like form as a bonus action. While in this form, your size becomes Large and your melee weapon attacks deal an additional 1d4 damage. In addition, your speed is reduced by 10 feet. This transformation lasts for one minute. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
  • Magic of Nature. You know the Druidcraft cantrip.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Sylvan.
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    \$\begingroup\$ We use the Detect Balance spreadsheet for this, see docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/…. Would you like to help us by telling us how many points you think each of these features is worth? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Mar 17 at 12:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, in the question itself ? Or in these comments? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Sash
    Mar 17 at 12:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the question itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Mar 17 at 12:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanB There is no requirement to use Detect Balance. We can use whatever metrics, measures, and game-knowledge we want when evaluating (racial) balance. It just so happens that there exists a tool that tends to do a good job of this. Requiring the asker to use it is certainly not a thing we should do. Answerers are, ostensibly, more knowledgeable about the system and that tool than the asker (they are asking and not answering the question after all). So answerers would actually be better at assisting the point values than the asker \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Stop That ability isn't normally granted in this case because the alternative AC Calc (Barkhide) requires not wearing armor. That wording lets it be used even when it otherwise could not be \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 13:21

2 Answers 2

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It is a little on the weak side

Let’s see what we got: +1 to three abilities, resistance to prone and knock back effects, don’t need to eat (typically), okay natural armor, a slightly less debilitating version of fire vulnerability, a weaker version of the enlarge portion of enlarge/reduce at level 3, and druidcraft cantrip.

It’s not a bad race, not at all. But let’s compare to the Triton race. Same ASI, swim speed and amphibious, a 1st level spell at L1, 2nd level at L3 and 3rd level at L5, darkvision, talk to fish, and resistance to cold damage. The not needing to eat is a cool ability, but usually not worth much as few DMs rigorously track rations.

Clearly, triton is better. They get more spells, darkvision, and resistance, while the Grovekeeper gets a weaker version of one spell and semi-vulnerability.

Using Points

Let’s see how much the race is worth using Kamstra’s point system from monstrous races. The ability score increase costs 3 build points. The cantrip costs .5 BP. I’ll say Mighty Oak is worth 1 BP. Chlorophyll is worth .5. Natural Armor is worth 2.5 BP. And finally, the Kindling is worth -1 BP. This brings the total to 6.5 Build Points, with the recommendation being 8-10 Build Points.

My advice? Remove the kindling ability, and grant the enlarge portion of enlarge/reduce with no drawbacks. Consider granting darkvision as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't heard of Kamstra's point system! How does it compare to the non-monstrous race balance system? Do numbers turn out equally? \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Mar 17 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch he does every single race published up to Volo’s, and 90% are between 8 and 10 points. It’s a really great book, I recommend it to everyone. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 22:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is the Yuan-ti rated? That's a good measuring stick :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Mar 17 at 23:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, Yuan Ti totals at 15.75 bp. I quote, “…the yuan-ti pureblood is well outside of normal BP ranges. Immunity to poison and resistance to all magic makes the pureblood extremely difficult to kill. Its ability increases are really useful, and its innate spellcasting is really good. The version of yuan-ti purebloods presented earlier in this document is considerably less powerful, opting for playability and balance without sacrificing the flavor of the race. If you want to use the official version, I suggest dropping Magic Resistance entirely, and delaying Suggestion until 5th level.” \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm probably keeping Kindling \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Sash
    Mar 18 at 17:39
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It seems to be balanced

As @DanB recommends I used the Detect Balance spreadsheet, giving this point to the features: ASI 12, Rooted 2, Chlorophyll 1, Barkhide 3, Kindling -2, Mighty Oak 8 and Magick Nature 2, that give us a 26 points of value.

But this are suggestions based on similar traits presents in the sheet Guide. For example, Mighty Oak looks very similar to Aasimar Transformation.

To give you some references the gnomes score 23 (Rock) and 24 (Forest), and the elves 27 (High) and 28 (Wood) so it seems to be balanced, but you could go to the Official Races sheet in the spreadsheet to see the rest of the races.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's your basis for making Mighty Oak 8 points? It's effect seems to be only part of the gains from casting Enlarge (but as a Bonus action), which is a 2nd level spell. Getting a full 2nd level spell would be 3 points. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Mar 17 at 13:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Mighty Oak seems very similar to the Aasimar Transformations,every Aasimar subrace has a different one, but the duration is always a minute with recharge after long rest, all of them gives you some extra damage equal to your level. The duration and recharge are identical, and the aumentad size plus extra 1d4 to every attack sems equivalent to the extra damage by your level. 8 point looks too much or too little to you? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik, compared to Enlarge, notably this ability does not require concentration which substantially increases its power. That said, this does seem weaker than Aasimar transformations as the damage is much lower. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Mar 17 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andrendire you have a point about the less damage, but the extra size widens your pool of potential grab victims. Maybe 6 or 7 points? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18 at 1:53

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