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Any discussion for a homebrew race will always have Detect Balance used to calculate how balanced the race is. I'm curious to see how much the tool can be abused.

Thus my challenge is to create a race that detect balance would count as 'balanced', which I'm defining as between 24 - 27 points. Despite that I want you to make the most broken race as possible.

This race can be built with a specific class or ability in mind for the class, though obviously you would then need to explain the class you would be playing to exploit the power of the race. The only caveat to this is that the abilities and/or class(es) you pick must generally be considered balanced, or underperforming, to begin with. The cheese should be limited to the race you created.

I'll allow new traits that are slight tweaks of things listed on detect balance so far as, in isolation, the trait looks to be equal to or weaker then an existing defined trait. This option only allows you to make tweaks to existing traits, no creating a completely new and impossible to point trait from scratch. You must provide justification for the point total you give a trait you modified. If an argument could be made for multiple points assume the tweaked trait has the higher point total.

I define overpowered as "most capable of surviving and completing objectives in a real campaign". I know this is highly subjective, but any attempt to give a more measurable definition leads to insane min-maxing for just that definition and likely results in an unplayable race. This race must actually be functional and useful in a real campaign. You cannot presume you know what your DM will throw at you, she doesn't tend to pull punches but she is known to at least be fair. In other words if you take vulnerabilities to something that frequently appears you better have a plan to deal with them, but you don't need to presume an encounter entirely created just to screw with you either.

You may pick what tier of gameplay you're focusing on exploiting, though in the event of a 'tie' the race that is at least viable in all tiers get's preference over one that would struggle in a different tier. Needing fewer then the 27 allotted points to create your broken race will also result in bonus points.

Only official sources may be used.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, what does "only official sources may be used" mean for homebrew? All racial abilities have to exist on printed races, we're just combining them in new ways? \$\endgroup\$
    – Draconis
    Nov 19, 2022 at 3:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Draconis: I was guessing it meant only official sourcebooks could be used for the classes / subclasses and spells you use to exploit the racial abilities. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2022 at 7:36

2 Answers 2

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Offsetting Vulnerability and Resistance traits allows you to start with -236 points for almost no net effect.

Rather than submit an actual build here, I will sketch the start of a build upon which you may add 263 points of traits and still come in at 27 total points for the race. All you have to do as add all the damage type vulnerabilities, as well as their corresponding resistances.

Here are those damage type traits and point values:

Resistances Points Damage Types
One Rare Resistance 2 Radiant, Force, Psychic or Thunder
One Medium Resistance 3 Cold, Lightning, Necrotic, or Acid
One Common Resistance 4 Fire or Poison
One Nonmagical Physical Resistance 10 Slashing or Piercing. Bludgeoning is 12.
Vulnerabilities Points Damage Types
One Rare Vulnerability -8 Radiant, Force, Psychic or Thunder
One Medium Vulnerability -16 Cold, Lightning, Necrotic, or Acid
One Common Vulnerability -20 Fire or Poison
One Physical Vulnerability -40 Bludgeoning, Piercing, or Slashing

Adding all of these to the race at the same time yields -236 points, except the vulnerabilities and resistances offset one another, and you are left with almost no net effect (subject to occasional rounding errors).1 So you may add up to 263 points worth of traits listed in the sheet and still meet your 27 point maximum prescribed in your question. Rather than submit a long list of traits adding up to 263 points (offset to 27 by the exploit), I give you this idea as a "proof of concept" for a build that horribly abuses the point system of the spreadsheet.

To give some examples, since a feat is listed as 20 points, you can give the race 13 feats, for a grand total of 24 points according to the calculator. Other abuses could include adding enough traits to have advantage on every type of ability or skill check, expertise in all skills, or a large catalogue of daily spells cast without requiring spell slots.


1 The net effect you are left with is, as user HighDiceRoller mentioned to me in a comment, having all of these resistances and vulnerabilities at the same time means you cannot gain resistance or vulnerability to any damage types, though you will still be subject to effects that ignore resistances, which would make such effects doubly powerful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting that the physical damage vulnerability is for all damage of that type, but the resistance is only to nonmagical instances. So you're still vulnerable to eg bludgeoning damage from magic weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – A Simmons
    Nov 19, 2022 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ This does not really seem to answer the spirit of the question. Adding vul/res like that would be nonsensical. Not sure why this is getting so many upvotes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Graybark
    Nov 19, 2022 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Graybark just because it is far more exploitable than OP imagined does not mean it isn’t in the spirit of the question. After all, the question states: “I'm curious to see how much the tool can be abused.” \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19, 2022 at 22:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ can a race simultaneously be resistant and vulnerable to a damage type? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2022 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slaves_of_the_Coast A homebrew race where you’re picking and choosing features from a spreadsheet with no other rules can, yes. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2022 at 14:14
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Looking at the table itself

Ignoring the exploit from Thomas Markov, your resistances and vulnerabilities appear to be skewed. What resistances and vulnerabilities are overpowered heavily depend on what kind of campaign you run, and to a lesser extend the damage types monsters in the monster manual have. Radiant and thunder are for example much less common than force and psychic. Source on Reddit and another neat table.

Vulnerability to Radiant and Thunder is a fairly safe offset for the ability to fly for example. Or resistance to slashing, poison and psychic.

The 'advantage' rolls are not really specified and not split between saves and abilities. Something like advantage on dexterity gives advantage on initiative as well, but is often overlooked.

Immunity to Conditions are not specified other than the poisoned condition.

A cantrip like Primal Savagery is 3 points where a 1d10 natural weapon that does not scale is 4.

Standard Fly 30 + Must land at End of Turn is only 4 points gives the player ways to get into places the enemies can't reach easily. E.g. trees, rock outcroppings, the roof of the building. Unless you are always fighting in featureless rooms this is powerful, especially for ranged squishy classes.

Testing default races

Assuming your maximum of 27 points.

  • Dragonborn by default is 12+0+6+(2,3,4)=20-22. This gives you a free 5-7 points on top of the default dragonborn.
  • Dwarf by default is 8+3+-2+2+5+1+1+0=18. This gives you a free 9 points.
  • Elf by default is 8+3+2+2+2+0=17. This gives you 10 free points.
  • Gnome by default is 8+-2+3+7+0=16. This gives you 11 free points.
  • Half-elf by default is 16+3+2+5+1=27. This gives you... 0 free points. How rude.
  • Halfling by default is 8+-2+5+(1,2,4 for Brave)+2+0=14-17. This gives you 10 to 13 free points.
  • Half-Orc by default is 12+3+2+4+3+0=24. This gives you 3 free points.
  • Human by default is 16+0+0=16. This gives you 11 free points.
  • Variant Human by default is 8+3+20=31. This is overpowered according to your point total.
  • Tiefling by default is 12+3+4+2+3+2+0=26. This gives you 1 free point.

Considering players normally need to choose a race that matches most with what they want to build and thus have a trait that is rarely useful, having the ability to modify certain aspects to synergise with your build is already huge. Having a decent chunk of free points on top of that is a bonus. Any race built this way is arguably overpowered compared to the default options, except maybe for Variant Human which grants a feat.

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