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I would like to create a new race which you can play as a PC without it being too overpowered for normal game settings. I would like one with wings, but are wings (even wings with clumsy maneuverability) (or gills or claws or a prehensile tail) potentially game-breaking? And what about racial traits and size categories and spell-like abilities-which ones are acceptable for PC use?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Consdering the ubiquity of fly, I would be pretty hard-pressed to believe that wings make you overpowered relative to other characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Lucas Leblanc Aug 4 '15 at 16:04
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Rules for custom races are in the Advanced Race Guide.

It uses a point-buy system for choosing size, speed, traits, spell-like abilities, etc. There are online versions here and here.

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Wings and gills for water-breathing are not game-breaking. They exist in a couple races already in Pathfinder, the Strix and Gillmen races respectively.

There is a race builder tool/process that uses a point-buy system similar to point-buying for stats. Alternately, the easiest thing to do I find is to "re-skin" something existing or a sample race in the race builder; give it a different name, a slightly different assortment of features, etc. Try looking through the expanded race guides to see if something already exists that's close to what you want, then adjust it as needed.

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You can also use the Monsters as PCs rules to use a creature as a player character. The creature's challenge rating (CR) acts as an effective class level, so if you picked a winged creature with a CR of 1, that is on a gross scale equivalent to a 1st level character of a PC race. It would have no class levels, but it would level normally beyond 1.

I say "gross scale equivalent" because many monsters, even CR 1 monsters, can be tremendously unbalanced.

The trick in the CR 1 case is to find something that flies and has a brain and isn't totally unbalanced for 1st level play (like the pseudodragon; that little guy's CR 1, but has a ton of powers compared to a 1st level character). A nixie is an example of an aquatic CR 1 creature, but again, it's got a lot of powers that make it unbalanced at 1st level play.

At higher level? A pseudodragon sorcerer or nixie druid might be perfectly fine, because their abilities aren't unbalanced compared to higher-level characters (by about 6th to 8th level, in my opinion, neither of those races' powers would overshadow the other PCs, who are also 1 level higher).

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