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The Alquir are a race of semi-aquatic creatures that resemble newts and salamanders. They possess a potent regenerative ability and an affinity for watery magics.

My main balance concern is the Regenerative ability, because while I don't want it to be overpowered I do want it to be useful and handy.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Age. Alquir are considered adults at about the age of 12 and can live up to 60 years of age.
  • Size. Alquir average around 4'2 feet in height. Your size is Small.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet and you have a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
  • 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 dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Skinbreather. You can breathe both air and water. Additionally, you have disadvantage on saving throws made to avoid exhaustion due to dehydration and heat.
  • Regenerative. Whenever you take the Dodge action in combat, you can spend one Hit Die to heal yourself. Roll the die, add your Constitution modifier, and regain a number of hit points equal to the total (minimum of 1). You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Aquan Affinity. You know the shape water cantrip. Additionally, you can communicate simple ideas with frogs, salamanders and other amphibians.
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2 Answers 2

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This is very strong, but still OK

I am going to use Detect Balance to baseline the race. 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 and Walking Speed are all standard and contribute 12 points for the ability score increases. Swim Speed 30 feet adds 2 points. Darkvision adds 3 points. You are missing a statement about Languages, unless this race does not speak any -- I'll assume common and one other maybe Aquan or Alquir, but you should spell it out. You are also missing the Creature Type (which is often overlooked but is important). I'll assume the default humanoid. That is 17 points from standards stuff.

Skinbreather combines as Amphibious, worth 2 points.The Disadvantage is not a standard thing, and such saves might happen in a desert campaign, but typically even early on players have access to creating water and it still is very situational. I'm not sure if this would deduct anything, if so, at best -1 point.

Regenerative does consume your action as you have to take the dodge action, so its not free. You should always consider how the race works when taken together with class features to optimize outcomes. Monks can take Dodge as a bonus action, but it costs a point of Ki, so there is no super easy way to exploit this. It really only matters in fights that go to the limit, and not that many do. In all other cases, you just could take that HD after the fight during a rest.

  • For comparison, the Goliath's Stone's Endurance allows you to use a Reaction to gain d12+Con bonus hits once per short rest, priced at 7 points. I think due to the action economy, the Goliath feature is stronger even if it is limited to one use per fight, as you can use it in the same round you attack in, and it gives you hit points on top of your hit die.
  • As another comparison point, this would be better than several free level one spells to cure wounds (each worth 3 points) which likewise consume your action but do not benefit from the Dodge bonus to AC while doing so, but those can heal on top of your hit dice, and in most fights will therefore give more value over a day. Also, you could use cure wounds to bring back one of your allies, so it is more flexible (thanks to @MJD for this last point).
  • Lastly, the Dwarven Fortitude feat is a half-feat that has the same effect plus for the other half adds +1 to Constitution. Half a feat, or an ASI +1 would be worth 4 points. (Kudos for @Yakk for this).

I think this is elegeantly done, and would estimate it at 4 points of value.

Aquan Affinity: A cantrip is worth 2 points, and this is an interesting and flexible one worth full value. Speaking with small beasts is worth another 2 -- you have it limited to amphibians which is more restrictive, but you should be able to find a frog or salamander in many environments if you want (forests, coastal, rivers, swamps; only deserts, arctic and mountains would be more difficult, and there are fire and ice versions of frogs, too), so I'll treat this as 1 point instead. 3 points total.

Summing up we get 17 + 2 - 1 + 4 + 3 = 25. I may have been a bit generous on the Aquan Affinity and Skinbreather deductions, which if both were removed would push you just to the top end of the recommended range. If you wanted to be safe, you could remove something worth 2 points or so -- but all the abilities are very thematic, and feel like a pity to cut. I think this is OK, but I would strongly recommend play-testing it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It could be worth considering that you can perform any in-combat actions outside of combat. This essentially means that they can spend their hit dice at any time, as opposed to being limited to rests. It could matter if the party is in a time crunch with no time to take a short rest. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26, 2023 at 14:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ 5 points seems like a lot for a downgrade of half a not-great feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jan 26, 2023 at 21:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ In comparison to Cure Wounds, Regenerative can't be used to heal another unconscious PC, which makes it much less useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – MJD
    Jan 26, 2023 at 22:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk - I think this is a great comparator, and a good argument to make it valued at half a feat, I will add it in and adjust it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2023 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin 20 is a full feat you pick. A half feat you +pick+ is 10. This you don't pick, and it isn't a top-notch feat either. Pick is important, because feats picked for you aren't usually optimized, while free picks are presumed to be. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jan 27, 2023 at 5:52
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Regenerative is a downgraded version of Dwarven Fortitude.

Beyond low levels, using an action to regain a single HD is a bad plan.

I'd be tempted to tweak it.

  1. Make it a bonus action.
  2. Make it spend up to (proficiency bonus)HD.
  3. Make it once per short rest.

Then, once per short rest you can bonus action dodge and heal a non-trivial amount.

I make it SR bound because that is how HD expenditure works. If it is LR bound, you can dump your HD into healing without a SR.

...

Next, I'd drop darkvision. Everyone has it, and there is no need for this creature to be particulary good at seeing in the dark.

Maybe swap in bioluminesence -- able to emit dim light with a 15' radius. This would let them see underwater, and is the kind of thing that aquatic creatures have. At 15' it is honestly annoying (people can see you, and your vision range is short), so it isn't all that strong.

For Skinbreather, I'd add in disadvantage in saves against fire damage.

...

The only "flavour" change above is swapping Darkvision (which is everywhere, strong and boring) for bioluminescence. Everything else is a rotation -- I made Skinbreather worse (disadvantage against fire damage), Darkvision worse (bioluminescence), and made your Regeneration a substantial ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought about Darkvision as the possible cut, too, but for creatures that live underwater, it gets dark pretty quickly as you go deeper, so it seems very natural to me. How the rules treat it ia a bit patchy - Merfolk, Dolphins and Shark don't have it, the Ixanlan Merfolk race does not have it. Sahuagin in comparison even have 120 feet, Merrow, Sea Hag, Siren, Ixitachitl all have it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2023 at 5:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Salamanders can see in the dark. Also I am absolutely not giving them a crippling weakness to fire \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Sash
    Jan 27, 2023 at 6:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also dolphins have blindsight \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Sash
    Jan 27, 2023 at 6:25

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