Original race: Is this homebrew hamadryad race unbalanced?

Hamadryads are creatures born of the forest, connected to the wild lands and the very lifeblood of the world itself. They are liminal beings - of nature and of mankind, torn between both worlds, not truly fitting in in either. They are children of forest nymphs and men, born of ritual or miracle. Unlike half-dryads, their connection to the wild is stronger and their powers are greater.

In terms of abilities, these creatures are supposed to have powers similar to the Monster Manual dryad. I don't see anything overpowered on its own but it does have a lot of abilities, so that might end up causing issues. What classes would it excel at, if any? The previous version was seen as overpowered.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1 and your Charisma score increases by 2.
  • Age. Hamadryads mature more slowly than humans and are considered mature at about the age of 24. They possess long lifespans, some being known to live up to 400 years.
  • Alignment. Hamadryads lean towards neutrality and tend to disregard laws and rules made by the more civilised races.
  • Size. Hamadryads are about the same Size as 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, your hit point maximum increases by 1.
  • Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws you make to avoid or end the charmed condition on yourself.
  • Touch of the Forest. You gain proficiency in either the Animal Handling or Survival skill. In addition, you can cast the animal friendship spell with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can't cast it again unti you finish a long rest. You can also cast this spell using any spell slots you have of the appropriate Level. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
  • Enchantment. You know the Friends cantrip and can cast it without requiring any components.
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I encourage you to check out this FAQ. It should help you refine your question and make it more answerable by the community. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Jan 25, 2023 at 9:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's revised from what? Please link the original hamadryad, and add explanation of the specific changes you made, and why you decided to make them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Jan 25, 2023 at 10:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @T.E.D. Please do not write answers in comments. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2023 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov - I don't have privs high enough to see deleted comments, but I thought what I'd written was power-level neutral suggestions, primarily for changing age of maturity, which doesn't constitute an answer to the question of "Is this balanced?" (and if put in an answer would quite rightly be downvoted and possibly deleted on that basis). \$\endgroup\$
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there some fascet to "Age" that affects power level that I'm missing? \$\endgroup\$
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


This needs clearer language

Like last time, 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.

Depending on how you read Oaken Vitality, this can be too weak, just right, or too strong. So you need to make it unambiguous what that feature does.

Your Ability Score Increase, Age, Alignment, Size, Speed and Languages are all standard and contribute 12 points for the ability score increases.

Oaken Vitality

  • Minimal hp: You need to clarify the language. Assuming characters taking this race have solid Con of 16 to capitalize on it, and this applies to the overall roll with Con bonus added in, this is a baseline of at least 6 hp with each roll. How good that is depends on the class — for a barbarian it does little, for a wizard it is roughly adding an expected half a hp per hit die rolled (at Con 16, normally they would get only 4 hp when rolling a 1, or 5 hp when rolling a 2, instead of the new minimum of 6, so they can expect an impromvement of 1/6* 2 points plus 1/6*1 point. If they roll a 3 or better, the ability makes no difference). That's a ribbon at best if its worth any points.
    If by "from the roll" you mean that only the dice roll gets replaced by 2 times Con bonus, and then you add the Con bonus, this gets a lot stronger. The average dice roll for a Wizard's d6 is 3.5, so this would give you +2.5 extra hits with each roll. That would be pretty similar to the Tough feat, which gives you 2 extra maximum hits per level. Better maximum is generally stronger and other classes benefit less from this, so it would not be worth the full feat worth 8 points, but I think would be worth at least 4-5 points.

  • HP maximum needs clearer language. If this was able to permanently increase your HP maximum every time you take a hit die, this would be utterly broken and needs an expiry clause. If it is intended to be with every level up, it is equivalent with Toughness, worth 5 points. If the one more max HP is a one time thing, then this is a lot weaker, maybe 1 point total.

Fey Ancestry should have a different name. Fey Ancestry is an already existing feature that includes immunity to sleep spells. This one doesn't so call it something else, otherwise it'll be confusing. Its relatively rare in my experience that PCs get hit by sleep effects, so the valuation probably should not change from 2 points.

Touch of the Forest: A level 1 spell per day from first level would be worth 3 points. A skill proficiency is worth 2, 3 with free choice but here the choice is very limited. The spell is OK but not very strong. 5 points total.

Enchantment: A free cantrip is worth 2 points. This one is one of the suckier ones, but its still a free cantrip.

Summing this up we get 12 + 6 + 2 + 5 + 2 = 27 points, just in range. As we erred on the higher point side in several cases, and the spells are pretty weak ones, it might really just be even to 25 or 26. Clarify the language and you should be good to go for playtesting.

If the HP maximum increase is a one time thing, then we are at 20-21 points and this is too weak. If the minimal hp thing is before you add Con bonus to the roll, this adds 4-5 more and is too strong, and you'd need to drop something. If both of these are the case, they more or less balance each other out, and this is strong, but still just OK.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like Detect Balance fails to take into account how situational and honestly quite weak choices for the spells are, and I defnitely wouldn't count Friends + Animal Friendship as worth 5 points in total, apparently equal to the Thoughness according to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – matszwecja
    Jan 25, 2023 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @matszwecja Yes, I think you are right about the spell choice. I reflect that in the overall evaluation, and spelled it out more clearly now. I think the main aspect is how the hp max is supposed to work. If only one time, this race is a bitweak \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2023 at 12:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oaken Vitality only impact healing during a short rest?? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2023 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AldenForlen Normally you can only roll Hit Dice to regain hit points when making a short rest. There is only limited amount of features that lets you do that at different times, e.g. Dwarves with Dwarven Fortitude feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – matszwecja
    Jan 25, 2023 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd go with something like "Fae Willfulness" for the ability name. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 25, 2023 at 23:54

First half

Usual stuff, +2/+1 ASI, standard speed, nothing out of ordinary.

Oaken Vitality

First part of feature being a copy of Durable feat, is quite underwhelming, due to how this ability works. Doesn't hurt, but provides very limited value. Additional 1 max hp is negligible and could be easily bumped to scaling level or half/level.

Fey Ancestry

Quite common feature, situational but useful.

Touch of the Forest

Skill proficiency is always good, Animal Friendship is very situational but can be a pleasant surprise when it does prove useful.


Friends is a tricky cantrip that can do more harm than good but again, can prove a nice option in unexpected situations. (Also, no spellcasting ability is set for this feature)


Decent race, probably on the weak side because the features are mostly situational. I'd probably add/modify something to be more generally useful, e.g. option of choosing some more offensive cantrip in place of Friends (e.g. Shillelagh, Thorn Whip) or replacing first part of Oaken Vitality with something else.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ One of the things we like to see from homebrew reviews is some in-depth analysis of the features. One of the common ways to assess racial traits is to compare to similar existing features to see how the race stacks up against official content. For me, this answer is much too shallow to be particularly useful, so I’ve downvoted it for now, but I think your general assessment is probably on the right track, so some more details justifying your position could turn me into an upvote. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 25, 2023 at 9:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov edited. \$\endgroup\$
    – matszwecja
    Jan 25, 2023 at 10:07

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