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While playing The Quiet Year as set up, a race of platypus-like people were encountered by the seaside settlers. This homebrew race is intended for the players in the following 5e game as a new race option.

Rhynkos

Ability Scores. You may increase one ability score by +2, and different score by +1. Alternatively, you may increase three different ability scores by +1.
Speed. Your speed is 30ft.
Size. Rhynkos stand between 3 and 4 feet tall. Your size is Small.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were in dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.
Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Electrolocation. You have blindsight for 10ft while underwater.
Venomous Spurs. As a bonus action, you can apply a venom to a piercing or slashing weapon that lasts for one minute. When a creature is hit by the weapon, they must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, or take 1d4 poison damage. You may use this trait a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain all spent uses when you finish a long rest. This does not require concentration. [This is intended to last through the minute, like Elemental Weapon, and not disappear after the first hit, like Branding Smite. I'm not sure is that is clearly communicated.]
Platypus Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

I'm worried I pulled too many traits into one race, however I know a lot of them are very situational. The campaign will take place a lot on the ocean, so I'm sure many of them will be used.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 14 at 23:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, if you are worried about the wording of Venomous Spurs, you could take inspiration from the wording of basic poison: "A creature hit by the poisoned weapon... must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 poison damage. Once applied, the poison retains potency for 1 minute before drying." \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mechanically, I'd be worried about builds with lots of attacks being a hassle. Making a Frost Giant roll a dozen DC12 Con+8 saves seems more frustrating than fun. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cireo
    Sep 15 at 16:46

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This is balanced, and looks fun too

I'll use Detect Balance, as is often done here to score this, as is often done around here. Average for book races is a value of 25, 24-27 is recommended.

The attributes like ASI+2, ASI+1, 30 foot speed, Darkvision, Small Size, Hold Breath 15 minutes, and poison resistance are all standard, and we can just read them off and sum them up, they are worth 19 points.

So the real question is how much is Electrolocation worth, and how much Venomous Spur.

Electrolocation: Blindsight 30', blind beyond is worth 4 points, and I think is still a lot more useful than this because unless you are playing in an unusual campaign (Call of the Netherdeep, maybe?), your are spending next to none of your time fighting under water, so this will not that often come into play. I'd value this as 1 point, at best. In your case, with lots of ocean, it might get to 1-2.

Maybe one finesse for it might be to say you have Blindsight 10' in water while under water, or some smartalec will figure out that they can carry a small water barrel on a Floating Disk or pack animal, and get Blindsight 10' whenever they want, by jumping into the barrel.

Venomous Spurs: This is the big one to figure out. It's good to limit it to proficiency uses, but still the average number of encounters is somehwere between 3 to 5 per day, in practice often closer to 3, so even from the start this may help you in half of your encounters, and as you level up, in all of them. The average combat encounter lasts less than one minute, so it will be good for the entire minute. A lot of creatures (about a quarter of those in the Monster Manual) are resisant or immune to poison, so this would be worth close to 2 points of damage, and factoring in the save, maybe one point per attack.

Compare this to the value of a straight +2 ASI, which gives you +1 to hit and +1 to damage. +1 to hit is about as good as +1 damage, for an equivalent effect of +2 damage, and a higher stat has other benefits too and is always on. In effect, the Spurs give roughly you half the damage of an ASI, which would mean it should cost maybe 4 points.

Summing this up we get to a total of 24 points, nearly the sweet spot. You could even throw in a swim speed of 30 feet for +2 points and still would be super safe.1 Good design.


1 Thomas recommends to use "You have a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.", which should not make much of a power difference either.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Swim speed is an obvious addition, Surprised I missed it , thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ "You have a swimming speed equal to your walking speed." would be my preferred wording, that way you don't have to worry about how different features affect your different speeds. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 at 19:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov, Yup, that would be best. DB explicitly calls it "30 feet", so maybe a variable one would be worth a point more but it would not make a balance difference either way, and I think it likely still would just be 2 points. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 at 20:02

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