This is my first attempt at creating a race using the DMG. Someone posing a Wolfwere question earlier and a member of my group loving wolves prompted my attempt. It's use would be in a standard 5E game with no other house rules. The goal is to create something that is playable with all the basic classes without conflict and will not overshadow other players playing traditional races. Just typing the mechanics, not the background or other flavor-

  1. Ability score increase: Dex +2.
  2. Age: Matures sooner than humans at age 10, but max life span of 50 years.
  3. Alignment: A pack mentality leads most to be lawful, doing what is needed for the pack. Depending on how they're formed, their morality runs from good through evil.
  4. Size: Regardless if on four legs or two, size is med. Human height falls under normal human ranges.
  5. Speed wolf form: 40 ft Speed human form: 30 ft
  6. Keen senses: Proficiency in Perception skill.
  7. Pack Tactics: Gain advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least 1 ally is within 5 ft of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
  8. Languages: You can speak, read and write common while in human form, and can read common and speak to wolves while in wolf form.
  9. Wolf Bite: While in wolf form only- Str based melee weapon attack with +4 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hits with 2d4 + 2 piercing damage. If target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Str saving throw or be knocked prone.
  10. Strong form control: Wolfweres have advantage when targeted with Transmutation spells.
  11. Natural Armor: While in wolf form only- AC=11+Dex modifier, as long as no barding is worn. Can be replaced with unarmored defense.
  12. Change Form: Takes 1 action to change. If in combat, Wolfwere is at disadvantage until start of their next turn. All equipment transforms with Wolfweres. HP of wolf form is half that of human form to a min of 11. Any damage taken while in wolf form gets subtracted from max human HP unless reduced to 0. If reduced to or at 0 HP while in wolf form, human HP is also reduced to 0 and you can't change form until you have at least 1 HP. If reduced to 0 HP or die while in human form, you revert to wolf form. Only other way to be unwillingly reverted to wolf form is while in an antimagic field and is the only time gear isn't transformed with you, but instead falls to the ground next to you. Unless a class feature specifies otherwise, cannot cast spells while in wolf form.
  13. Subraces: There are 2 subraces of Wolfweres- Wizard Formed and Divinely Blessed.

Wizard Formed

  1. Ability score increase: Int +1
  2. Cantrip: You know one Cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Int is your spell casting ability for it.
  3. Limited Bond: Choose 1 willing person. A bond forms with that person that allows telepathic communication between the 2 up to a range of 100 ft. Only 1 bond can exist at a time, a new bond will replace the old. It takes 1 hr to forge or dismiss the bond.

Divinely Blessed-

  1. Ability score increase: Wis +1
  2. Touched by the divine: At level 3, you can cast cure wounds as a second level spell once a day.

Please let me know if y'all are interested in me updating the race with any changes I make.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Zachiel, Joshua Aslan Smith, gomad, DuckTapeAl, nvoigt Jan 23 '15 at 17:12

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • @Korack if you wanted to make it on topic here you'd need to offer more criteria than "OP." You'd need to explain why the were templates in the MM don't do it for you, what you're trying to accomplish and overall some kind of objective measuring stick with which to judge what you're doing. Overall it's better to ask questions like "I'm trying to do something like this and am stuck on point X, help me get unstuck" than "critique my homebrew" – wax eagle Jan 20 '15 at 20:37
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    This might be salvageable if we align the question with "does this line up with how the DMG presents a custom race". – Cthos Jan 20 '15 at 20:38
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    @Cthos "Does this line up with the DMG's guidelines" is how I first interpreted the question, so I was a little mystified at the close votes! I can see now that it's been edited that it really wasn't explicit before, though, which would explain it. – SevenSidedDie Jan 20 '15 at 20:48
  • @waxeagle trouble is, I don't think I know enough to know if I'm stuck. I think it will work and fits with what the DMG suggests with how to create it, but to someone with more experience there could be a huge and glaring mistake. – Korack Jan 20 '15 at 21:04
  • Do not answer in comments. – mxyzplk Jan 23 '15 at 23:44

Pack tactics is probably too strong, wolf bite doesn't scale and change form is too weak.

Overall, this jibes fairly well with what you're looking for when you are creating a custom race, though it's probably not ideal and I'll explain why in a minute. First let's address the specifics:

  • Pack Tactics is typically a monster quality, it's probably not super OP for a PC, but seems a bit stronger than I'd want to grant as a racial power. However, this is also basically an implementation of the optional flanking rules/a slightly stronger version of the rogue class power (which is honestly the bit that has me worried, it's a better version of the feature that lets the rogue use SA).

  • Wolf Bite. Consider making this 2+proficiency rather than +4, as a non-scaling attack will quickly become useless. 2+ prof makes it slightly worse to-hit than a good melee attack, but the upped damage should account for that nicely.

  • Change form. This is the feature I have the most issue with. You basically make the wolf form amazingly easy to kill, and thus pretty easy to incapacitate the character, you also make it hard to access (a full action) and penalize it heavily with disadvantage for a round. I'd definitely reconsider this. You don't want them to be a full on druid, but it seems like they should be combat effective as a wolf (even if the primary purpose of the form is not combat).

I have a couple of other concerns, I'd probably grant proficiency rather than advantage on the transmutation spells (this is hair splitting though, they end up about equal by the end, but advantage is much much better early).

The ultimate question to ask yourself when creating this is the same one that the DM suggests asking when you create a feat or other game element "Is this feature so powerful that everyone will want it" if the answer is "no" then you've got something you can work with in your game. Personally, looking at this I don't see anything about this race that would make it signficantly favorable to every class in the game. It strongly favors some melee characters, but there isn't enough here to make it a "must take" for even any one class (though it might be a bit close for the rogue).

And that last bit "in your game" is the important factor. Judge your homebrew on your own game. How optimized are characters typically? How likely are your players to exploit game breaking combos? How carefully you have to design will depend greatly on these things.

The one place this does sort of fall afoul of the DMG's advice is that it ranges a bit from stealing things from other races. This makes sense though as you're building a were template and some of the things you need to have just aren't present in the existing races (though they are in the were-templates in the monster manual, you may want to spend some time reading those for ideas on how to implement the were-aspect of your race, I'll fill in some suggestions when I get in front of my book).

The only thing I feel is missing here, and it may be a setting/conception issue more than a real problem is the lack of a hybrid form. All of the were-templates in the MM have one and it might be helpful to be able to sit between the world of wolf and human for a bit.

  • As soon as I read scaling I slapped my forehead. I can't believe I forgot that. You've also given me quite a bit to think about, so I think I know which direction to go to tweak things. The werewolf in between form is also some food for thought, maybe as another subrace with more shifting control. – Korack Jan 20 '15 at 21:20
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    A further note on Wax Eagle's note about the Change Form ability. What is the purpose behind giving the wolf form 1/2 hp? Is there a reason you had in mind that it should be so much easier to disable/kill a member of this race while in wolf form? – Theo Brinkman Jan 21 '15 at 2:57
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    @TheoBrinkman - I can only guess that it's supposed to address how a 40-50kg Medium-sized wolf isn't supposed to be as tough as a 80kg humanoid. Except for the facts that a 18-20kg Small-sized Halfling or Gnome is that tough, and that physical hardiness is only one of the factors HP represent. – El Suscriptor Justiciero Jan 21 '15 at 10:20

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