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Crafty Cultist
2016-12-29, 07:21 PM
Hello Playground, long time no post.

I felt the sudden urge to homebrew, and given the lack of support for monster races in 5th edition, it seemed like a good place to start. I decided to start with Lycanthropes, as they are still close enough to player races that things wouldn't be too complex. My system has two main components.

The Race
This is the player race for someone who wants to be a monster. It has enough to support the basics of the monster, while keeping it's abilities roughly on par with a base class

The Class
Taking levels in the monster class allows the monster to improve it's natural abilities to be more on par with the full capabilities they should possess as monsters, while keeping their power comparable with other pc classes. The goal is not to make a full twenty level class based on the monster, but to have enough levels that they can get their abilities at a fair clip, then multiclass into a standard PC class. If they don't take level's in the monster class, they'll still be a monster, but one who hasn't honed their natural abilities to the fullest.

So, without further ado, here's...

The Lycanthrope (Race)
Comments: The race portion of this class is intended to be bare-bones in order to balance against other player races. You do get the ability to transform, and while Iíve tried to make the animal form somewhat viable, itís intended more as a backup weapon that part of your main arsenal in combat, as its use precludes most class abilities.

Ability Score Increase. You Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Lycanthropes have lifespans on par with ordinary humans, though their violent lives make living to old age a rarity.
Alignment. Lycanthropes tend towards chaotic alignments, putting little value in the rules and systems of civilization. Good lycanthropes see themselves as champions of the natural world, while evil lycanthropes see those around them as prey.
Size. Lycanthropes are roughly the same size as humans. Their size is medium.
Heightened Senses. Lycanthropes gain proficiency in the perception skill. They also gain advantage on any perception checks based on their sense of smell.
Speed. Your base speed is 30ft.
Shapechanger. Lycanthropes can change between human and animal form at will as an action. While in animal form, their equipment melds into their new form, becoming non-functional. A Transformed lycanthrope cannot speak, cast or concentrate on spells, or benefit from class abilities (apart from those of the lycanthrope class). The exact capabilities of their transformed state are dependent on their subrace, though it remains medium sized.
Languages. Lycanthropes can speak common. While in animal form, they can speak with similar species, but communication is limited by the intelligence of the animals they converse with.
Subrace. Three subraces of lycanthropes are presented here Ė werewolves, werebears, and wererats.

Werewolf
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Dexterity scores each increase by 1.
Pack Unity. Your instincts aid you when working with others to bring down prey. When one of your allies scores a critical hit against an enemy adjacent to you, you may use your reaction to make a melee attack against that enemy.
Animal Form (Wolf). While in animal form, apply the following changes.

Speed. Your base speed is 40ft.
Ability scores. Increase either Strength or Dexterity (lycanthropeís choice at the time of transformation) by 2.
Armor Class. A werewolf in animal form has an AC of 11 + their dexterity modifier.
Attacks. A werewolf in animal form makes a bite attack that deals 2d4 damage. This attack counts as a finesse weapon, and can add either their Strength or Dexterity to attack rolls and damage.
Ferocity. After a successful bite attack, a werewolf attempt to trip it's target as a bonus action. The target must make a strength saving throw (DC = 8 + Proficiency Bonus + The werewolf's stength or dexterity bonus [Player's choice]) or be knocked prone.

Comments: The werewolf is intended as the middle of the road option, being able to benefit from Strength or Dexterity, with abilities that promote aggression and teamwork.

Werebear
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Vital Spirit. When you are reduced to 0 hit points, but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You canít use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
Animal Form (Bear). While in animal form, apply the following changes.

Speed. Your base speed remains at 30ft.
Ability Scores. Increase Strength by 2.
Armor Class. A werebear in animal form has an AC of 15.
Attacks. A werebear in animal form makes claw attacks that deal 2d6 damage. The werebear adds strength to attack and damage, as normal.
Grab. On a successful claw attack a werebear can make a grapple check as a bonus action. On subsequent rounds, a werebear can make claw attacks against a grappled target with advantage. On a hit, it can use a bonus action to maintain the grapple, but on a miss, the grappled target will automatically break free.

Comments: Werebears are intended as more of a tank option, focusing on endurance, and brute force.

Wererat
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Scurry. When making an opportunity attack, a wererat can move up to 10ft after the attack is resolved. The target of your opportunity attack cannot react to this movement, but any others can make opportunity attacks as normal.
Animal Form (Rat). While in animal form, apply the following changes.

Speed. Your base speed is 30ft, and you have a 20ft climb speed.
Ability Scores. Your dexterity increases by 2.
Armor Class. A wererat in animal form has an AC of 11 + their dexterity modifier.
Attacks. A wererat in animal form makes a bite attack dealing 1d8 damage. This attack counts as a finesse weapon, allowing either Strength or Dexterity to be added to attack rolls and damage.
Craven Dodge. A wererat can use their reaction to reduce the damage taken when hit by an attack. The wererat makes a dexterity saving throw, and reduces the damage taken by their result, to a minimum of 0. If their result is below 10, or half the damage the attack would have dealt, whichever is higher, then they are knocked prone as part of their dodge.

Comments: Wererats are intended to be evasion focused, with high dexterity and abilities focused on movement.



The Lycanthrope (Class)

Comments: The lycanthrope class is about bringing a lycanthropeís natural abilities to the forefront. Simply being of the lycanthrope race gives you the bare-bones abilities of the species, but taking levels of the class allows you to bring your transformative abilities to the forefront.
LevelProficiency BonusFeatures
1st+2Quick Transformation, Predator Style, Improved Shapeshifting (1 use)
2nd+2Beastly Vigor, Improved Shapeshifting (2 uses)
3rd+2Cursed Hide, Animal Aspect
4th+2Hybrid Form, Improved Shapeshifting(3 uses)


Hit Dice: d10

Proficiencies
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None

Saving Thows: Constitution and Strength(Werebear), Constitution and Charisma(Werewolf), Dexterity and Intelligence (Wererat)
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Nature, Stealth, and Survival.

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background.
One martial melee weapon.
A shortbow with 20 arrows, or any simple ranged weapon.
Leather armor and an explorerís pack

Class Features.

Quick Tranformation: You can now transform to animal form and back as a bonus action.
Comments: This ability is fairly straightforward, but important. Being able to transform without using an action makes mid-battle transformations a lot more valid.

Predator Style: A lycanthrope adopts a specific style of fighting as its specialty. Choose one of the following options.

Hardiness: You gain a +1 bonus to AC when relying on your natural armor.
Ferocity: When attacking with your natural weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage.
Guardian Beast: When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must not be in human form to use this ability.

Comments: These are three fighting styles refluffed to work while in beast mode, giving it an extra edge that they donít possess while in human form.

Improved Shapeshifting: A lycanthrope has honed their innate shapeshifting to call upon a more powerful transformation. When transforming into an animal, the lycanthrope can gain the effects of an Enlarge/Reduce spell. No concentration is required to maintain the size change, but the lycanthrope returns to normal size if they return to human form, or after one minute, whichever comes first. After using this ability the lycanthrope must complete a long rest before it can do so again.
At 2nd and 4th level the lycanthrope gains an additional use of this ability between each long rest.
Comments: This ability is the basis for other abilities later, while providing a small buff in the meantime.

Beastly Vigor: At 2nd level, a lycanthrope can draw upon their transformative powers to restore them in battle. When transforming into an animal, a lycanthrope can use this ability to send a number of hit dice no greater than their proficiency modifier, healing as part of their transformation as if they had taken a short rest. No other benefits of a short rest are applied, and the hit dice are used up for the day, as normal. Once this ability has been used, the lycanthrope cannot heal itself in this manner again until it has finished a long rest.
Comments: while most of the classís abilities are aimed at improving its transformed state, this ability encourages the lycanthrope to save their transformations until theyíve taken a few hits, or to allow a multiclass lycantrope to better use their animal form as something to rely on in a pinch.

Cursed Hide: At 3rd level, a lycanthropeís natural armor increases by 2. In addition, while under the effects of their improved shapeshifting ability, the gain resistance to piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning from non-silvered weapons.
Comments: With cursed hide, an improved transformation is roughly on the same level as a barbarianís rage. The weakness to silvered weapons is specific enough that to provide a bit of flavour without changing the overall balance of the ability. The lower number of uses compared to a barbarianís rage is offset with fewer drawbacks. The AC boost helps make the animal form viable once more effective armors start showing up.

Animal Aspect: At 3rd level, your improved transformations give you an additional benefit based on your lycanthropic subrace.

Werewolf: While enlarged by your improved shapeshifting, allies, excluding yourself, do not provoke opportunity attacks from creatures adjacent to you.
Werebear: While enlarged by your improved shapeshifting, you can attempt to move through occupied spaces. Doing so provokes opportunity attacks as normal, and requires you to succeed an opposed Strength (athletics) check. If you fail, your movement ends. If successful, you move through the creatureís square and deal 1d4 damage to the creature. This ability can be used on multiple targets in a single round, but you suffer disadvantage on your strength checks against any targets after the first.
Wererat: While reduced by your improved shapeshifting, you ignore the 1d4 damage penalty, and deal an additional 1d4 damage on any dexterity based attacks you make. You also gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws and and Dexterity(Stealth) checks made while reduced.


Hybrid Form: At 4th level, a lycanthrope has mastered their natural shapeshifting abilities, and can assume a hybrid form between man and beast. While in hybrid form, the following traits apply.

Speed: As animal form
Languages: A lycanthrope in hybrid form can speak any languages they know, and can communicate with animals as they could in animal form.
Ability scores: The ability score increases from animal form apply to the hybrid form.
Armor Class: A Lycanthrope wearing armor determines their AC normally. A Lycanthrope without armor uses the AC of their animal form.
Attacks: A lycanthrope in hybrid form can make regular weapon attacks, and may make a bite attack as a bonus action. The hybrid bite deals 1d6 damage, and has the finesse property if their animal form possesses it.
Beastly Vigor, Improved Shapeshifting and Animal Aspect: These abilities can be used when transforming into either animal or hybrid form from now on.

Comments: The Hybrid Form is the capstone of the lycanthrope class. It allows for a single class lycanthrope to go on to their new multiclass confident that their old abilities will still be useful, and allows multiclass lycans to move their shapeshifting abilities from a situational backup to an all round buff.


This is my first real attempt at homebrewing anything for 5E, so let me know if anything looks oddly worded or unbalanced. If you like the look of this, let me know what other monster's you'd like to see playable in 5E.

3/1/2017

Changed werewolf ferocity to work without strength investment
Replaced werwolf Pack Tactics with Simpler Pack unity
Changed hybrid bite attack to a bonus action.

14/1/2017

Moved Improved Transformation to first level, level 1 felt to sparse.
Clarified that Animal Aspect functions in hybrid form.

Potato_Priest
2016-12-29, 09:39 PM
What's the DC on the wererat's saving throw to avoid damage?

Additionally, I tend to not like abilities that grant a bazillion saving throws because it slows down the game. I'd make craven dodge reliable. I really like how you added the proning thing. It makes the use of the feature an interesting decision for a wererat.

Potato_Priest
2016-12-29, 09:48 PM
I like most of the stuff here. A few specific notes:

I like the enlarge/reduce idea, but the extra d4s seem annoying. Perhaps you could just give them +2 or +3 to damage instead.

You ought to put something in there about unarmed strikes with animal attacks not synergizing with the monk's martial arts feature.

What is the difference between an active and passive ability? Is extra attack an active or a passive? How about feats?

Werewolves need better benefits in exchange for multiple ability score dependence. Shoves are always str, and AC is always dex. Also, your version of pack tactics is kind of hard to keep track of and fairly strange.

Rune Knight
2016-12-31, 11:07 PM
I like the enlarge/reduce idea, but the extra d4s seem annoying. Perhaps you could just give them +2 or +3 to damage instead.

1d4 is the bonus or penalty to damage you get from the Enlarge/Reduce spell. I'm guessing the werebear 1d4 damage on the overrun-like ability is because that's only available while enlarged by the improved shifting.

Crafty Cultist
2017-01-01, 01:26 PM
What's the DC on the wererat's saving throw to avoid damage?

Additionally, I tend to not like abilities that grant a bazillion saving throws because it slows down the game. I'd make craven dodge reliable. I really like how you added the proning thing. It makes the use of the feature an interesting decision for a wererat.

I've changed the wording to try and make things a bit clearer, there isn't really a set DC with this ability, they reduce the damage taken by their saving throw result, so they get a benefit regardless of how well they roll. The chance to fall prone was added as to balance that. Hope that makes sense.

I've changed the wording from "non-passive class abilities" to just "class abilities".

Do you have any concrete suggestions for re-balancing the werewolf? Would giving them the ability to use dexterity for shoving and either dex or con for AC make it more powerful? I'll give pack tactics a little more thought as well.

Edge
2017-01-01, 01:37 PM
Pack Tactics is an existing ability in 5e. Playable kobolds get it as a racial trait in Volo's Guide to Monsters, and it is just straight-up advantage on attack rolls for the character if 1 or more allies are within 5ft of their target. However, kobolds also get light sensitivity. Using this default version of the ability on the werewolf would certainly make them better, but it might be too much.

What I'd suggest is drop pack tactics from the werewolf, and change Ferocity so that every successful bite attack provokes a Strength saving throw against being knocked prone, rather than letting you shove as a bonus action. This allows them to set up advantage on allied attacks more reliably than your current pack tactics does, whilst still giving opponents a chance to resist.

One other thing I'd change: let the Hybrid form bite as a bonus action after taking an Attack action, and remove the disadvantage.

Crafty Cultist
2017-01-01, 06:50 PM
Pack Tactics is an existing ability in 5e. Playable kobolds get it as a racial trait in Volo's Guide to Monsters, and it is just straight-up advantage on attack rolls for the character if 1 or more allies are within 5ft of their target. However, kobolds also get light sensitivity. Using this default version of the ability on the werewolf would certainly make them better, but it might be too much.

What I'd suggest is drop pack tactics from the werewolf, and change Ferocity so that every successful bite attack provokes a Strength saving throw against being knocked prone, rather than letting you shove as a bonus action. This allows them to set up advantage on allied attacks more reliably than your current pack tactics does, whilst still giving opponents a chance to resist.

One other thing I'd change: let the Hybrid form bite as a bonus action after taking an Attack action, and remove the disadvantage.

As a rule, I've given each subrace an ability that they can use whenever, and one that's exclusive to their animal form. Changing Ferocity to be a saving throw makes sense, but I would like to keep pack tactics in some form. How about if they can use their reaction to attack an enemy within 5ft if one of their allies scores a critical hit against it?

Arkhios
2017-01-01, 07:52 PM
I got an idea from your lycanthrope race.

What if they were universal sub-race options for every race?

You could choose from various were-types and instead of the normal subraces, you'd apply the features from the were-type to your race.

That could be cool.

Lortime
2017-01-01, 08:00 PM
I got an idea from your lycanthrope race.

What if they were universal sub-race options for every race?

You could choose from various were-types and instead of the normal subraces, you'd apply the features from the were-type to your race.

That could be cool.
but lycanthory is a affliction and not a race correct me if i wrong but if two were-something mate
is the offspring a lycan or not, otherwise you have to bitten or cursed right?

Crafty Cultist
2017-01-01, 08:09 PM
but lycanthory is a affliction and not a race correct me if i wrong but if two were-something mate
is the offspring a lycan or not, otherwise you have to bitten or cursed right?

I'm going off the 3rd edition version, where lycanthropy could be inflicted, but there were also natural lycanthropes who were born to lycanthropic parents and could control the transformations freely. This race/class is designed with the latter in mind.

Arkhios
2017-01-01, 08:10 PM
but lycanthory is a affliction and not a race correct me if i wrong but if two were-something mate
is the offspring a lycan or not, otherwise you have to bitten or cursed right?

Yes, I'm aware of that. Just trying to look at it from different angle.

Crafty Cultist
2017-01-01, 09:27 PM
Yes, I'm aware of that. Just trying to look at it from different angle.

Since the 5E monster manual uses humans as the base, I've done the same. The main reason is complexity. Races like dragonborn have a large chunk of their racial abilities dictated by subrace, so making a lycan version wouldn't be easy.

Arkhios
2017-01-01, 11:28 PM
Since the 5E monster manual uses humans as the base, I've done the same. The main reason is complexity. Races like dragonborn have a large chunk of their racial abilities dictated by subrace, so making a lycan version wouldn't be easy.

Maybe you could look at revenant for guidance?