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A player of mine wanted to play a hamadryad based on the old 4e version and this is what I came up with. The lore is that they're dryads who, through falling in love with a mortal or some other means, have unbound themselves from their home tree.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1 and your Charisma score increases by 2.
  • Age. Hamadryads are considered adults around 75 years of age and after becoming unbound from their tree they can live up to 450 years.
  • Alignment. Hamadryads lean towards neutrality and tend to disregard laws and rules made by the more civilised races.
  • Size. Hamadryads tend to be a bit shorter than humans. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Oaken Vitality. When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2). Additionally, at first level, your Hit Points increase by 2.
  • Fey Nature. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep. You are also affected by holy water as if you were an undead or fiend.
  • Druidic Touch. You know one cantrip of your choice from the Druid spell list.
  • Enchanting Beauty. When a creature you can see within 30 feet of you hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to attempt to charm that creature. The target must succeed on a DC (8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) Wisdom saving throw or become charmed by you for one minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw if you or your allies deal damage to it. You can use this feature once and regain the ability to do so when you finish a short rest.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Sylvan.
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2 Answers 2

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This is quite strong

I am going to use Detect Balance to baseline this. It is not perfect, but helps with tallying the impact for traits that are standard or not strongly synergistic. It scores races on a point scale, with a recommended range of 24 to 27 points, ideally 25.

Your Ability Score Increase, Age, Alignment, Size, Speed and Languages are all standard, as is Druidic Touch (choice of cantrip), and I will consider Fey Nature to be equal to Fey Ancestry, which lacks being damaged by holy water, but I never in 30 years of playing have experienced the PCs being spashed with holy water, so let's call that even. This all together is worth 17 points.

Oaken Vitality: This is OK. How good it is will depend on the class and Constititution, but we should expect someone to pick this race to put at least 14 or 16 into Constitution, if not maximizing it. This is worth about under a point per level with a d8 and 16 Con as a middle ground and can be nearly 2 points per level with a d6 and Con 20. For comparison, Healing Hands allows you to heal 1 hp per level more flexibly and is worth 2 points, and the Durable feat gives you the same effect on minimal rolls, and +1 to Con instead of the inital 2 extra hits that can make a difference in the early levels. With an uneven Con score that +1 is also worth 1 hp at first level, but then adds one more every level and has other benefits, too. So this is probably worth 4 to 6 points.

Enchanting Beauty: this is quite strong. It gives you a use for your reaction, and can be used often enough to count for nearly every encounter (assuming a typical number of meaningful combat encounters, and short rests in between). The attacker cannot even attack you if charmed, althought they still can attack your allies. In a way this is better than being able to cast charm person 3 or so times per day, even if the duration is shorter and you cannot pro-actively use it, as it does not cost your action. A level 1 spell per day from first level would be worth 3 points, so this would be worth about 9 points.

Summing this up we get 17 + 5 + 9 = 31 points, out of the recommended range.

Now, there are other races that do silly things, like flying Aaracokra, so the bar for overpowered is set pretty high these days. I still would soften this somewhat, for example by limiting Enchanting Beauty to one time per long rest.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The way I understand it is that those 2 extra hit points are a one-off. All the other stuff related to CON is just for healing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Graybark
    Nov 17, 2022 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin With a hit die, you normally gain 1dx+CON HP, so that's a minimum of 1+CON. If an ability grants a minimum of CON mod HP, then that's not really a benefit; the inherent minimum is already higher. 2xCON is where you get an actual benefit if your con doesn't suck. Anyway the current version here is the Durable feat, it just doesn't give the +1 Con increase; you get +2 max HP instead. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2022 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Graybark Yes, that is how I understand it too. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2022 at 16:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think Oaken Vitality merits such high consideration. It is good, don't get me wrong, but I'd liken it more to "advantage on a situational roll" (I know it's not advantage, but I'd argue that rolling high hit die is less useful than advantage) and give it a 4 with the hit point bump. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Nov 17, 2022 at 23:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE I think your intuition is correct -- after factoring in the Con bonus to HD rolls, the benefit of Oaken is lower, somewere between under one and close to 2 hp, plus the two initial HP. I adjusted the value to 4 to 6 instead. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18, 2022 at 5:44
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Mostly fine except for Enchanting Beauty

I would maybe tone this one down to once per long rest, and not once per short rest, to make it more in line with other official racial abilities such as

Gift of the Svirfneblin. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the disguise self spell with this trait. [...] Once you cast either of these spells with this trait, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest. [...]

from Monsters of the Multiverse (Deep Gnome playable race), p. 11.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. \$\endgroup\$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 17, 2022 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is also a solid way to lower the power level into the acceptable range. A single use of the ability per long rest would be about 3 DB points, so the total would be around 27. They could keep the Oaken Vitality as is in that case. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2022 at 18:00

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