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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ClericGirl

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    Default Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    I have a setting that I'm working on, which I don't have posted yet. I do, however have the crunch and much of the fluff for the races done.

    Basically, the world was once a stereotypical fantasy world, but the people's hubris and search for destructive magic caused a disaster in which they all died. With no people left in the world, the gods took animals and awakened them into people. Some were chosen because they were close to the old peoples, either as pets or other domesticated animals, and others were chosen simply because they were favored by one god or another.

    The setting itself is very very loosely based on Animal Farm, with other inspiration drawn from sources like The Codex Alera, The Elder Scrolls, Exalted, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

    Without further ado, I present the Races of Agrimal. What I really want to know is how balanced they are with each other, and if they have the right kind of mechanics and flavor to fit the animals they once were.

    Thanks for your time!
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Maglubiyet's Avatar

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Cool ideas and nice writeups. Just to be clear, these are anthropomorphic animals, right? From the weapon proficiencies it must be, but I wasn't sure from the initial synopsis. Do they have manipulating hands like humans?

    I'm not sure about balance in 5e, so maybe this is off base, but in 3.5 some stats and abilities are more valuable than others. This is what leads to LA's, because a +2 here is not always equivalent as +2 there. Also, most races have stat penalties as well as bonuses. For example, it would seem appropriate to me for Crows to have a minus on Strength. Are you intentionally leaving those off?

    RL turtles aren't water-breathers. Is that for balance?

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Minuses to attributes are not as present in 5e, as I have yet to see that in an official write-up. There are negatives, but they are either under-the-hood (small size means reduced movement and disadvantage with heavy weapons) or overt in the case of Dark Elves (disadvantage on perception and attacks relying on sight if either the player or the target is in direct sunlight).

    The latest Aarakocra write-up has flight from level one, which comes with a stipulation that you can't fly while wearing medium or heavy armor.

    Balance in the new edition is precarious, and it seems (just to me) that some of these are overbalanced, i.e. the dragonclaw of the cat races.

    Here's my stab at something vaguely similar, with fewer subraces. I'm not sure how much I'd go for subraces in some of these cases - dragonborn, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings don't have sub races and seem to do just fine.

    For "large" for instance, I decided to pare back to the "goliath" example write-up from the new "Elemental Evil: Player's Companion" - the size is still "medium" with normal reach and so-on, but counted one size larger for lifting, pushing, carrying and encumbrance.
    Last edited by Gritmonger; 2015-03-10 at 07:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Gritmonger View Post
    Minuses to attributes are not as present in 5e.
    Ah, okay. Disregard my comments then. Except that turtles still can't breathe water.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Maglubiyet View Post
    Ah, okay. Disregard my comments then. Except that turtles still can't breathe water.
    Agreed. This is better represented by a bonus or ability to holding one's breath - fifteen minutes would be more than enough in most cases, especially having a swimming speed.

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    Thanatos 51-50's Avatar

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Similar to Gritmonger, I have also done a homebrew of Catfolk, but I've restricted mine to Catfolk and haven't touched the other species.
    It'll take me a bit to review all the possible beastfolk races you have in your doc (And that is a lot. It's an astounding amount of work. Kudos to you for having the patience to grind that out!)

    That being said: How do your cat claws interact with Martial Arts? Can you intentionally use them to deal bludgeoning damage instead of slashing?
    Having an always-on Elemental attack for your Dragonclaw cats seems a bit powerful, and with damage rising like a cantrip, it feels -- just a little bit -- like it's maybe treading all over primary casters just a little bit

    I'm initially a bit wary of giving a player character a natural Flight speed. All other instances of gaining a Flight speed are either from powerful magic items or temporary adjustments like a spell or an Avenging Paladin's capstone. Think about what kind of three-dimensional tactics and exploits you're opening up in your game. I might be tempted to recommend giving your Corvids a sort of limited gliding ability instead of full-blown flight.
    Also: how does flight interact with armour, heavy or otherwise?
    I'll probbaly be back later after a more through read of your other races (Your pigs are cool, though. It feels like you've just made Dwarves Lawful Evil and stuck them with pig snouts)
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Maglubiyet View Post
    Cool ideas and nice writeups. Just to be clear, these are anthropomorphic animals, right? From the weapon proficiencies it must be, but I wasn't sure from the initial synopsis. Do they have manipulating hands like humans?

    RL turtles aren't water-breathers. Is that for balance?
    Yes, I ought to clear that up. These are anthropomorphic animals, and they do have human-like hands. As for Turtles breathing water, I know that they can't do it in real life, that was something I added for the sake of giving them something really unique that none of the other races had.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gritmonger View Post
    Agreed. This is better represented by a bonus or ability to holding one's breath - fifteen minutes would be more than enough in most cases, especially having a swimming speed.
    But I might just do this instead. It's more accurate to the real animals, and isn't as overpowered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanatos 51-50 View Post
    Similar to Gritmonger, I have also done a homebrew of Catfolk, but I've restricted mine to Catfolk and haven't touched the other species.
    It'll take me a bit to review all the possible beastfolk races you have in your doc (And that is a lot. It's an astounding amount of work. Kudos to you for having the patience to grind that out!)

    That being said: How do your cat claws interact with Martial Arts? Can you intentionally use them to deal bludgeoning damage instead of slashing?
    Having an always-on Elemental attack for your Dragonclaw cats seems a bit powerful, and with damage rising like a cantrip, it feels -- just a little bit -- like it's maybe treading all over primary casters just a little bit

    I'm initially a bit wary of giving a player character a natural Flight speed. All other instances of gaining a Flight speed are either from powerful magic items or temporary adjustments like a spell or an Avenging Paladin's capstone. Think about what kind of three-dimensional tactics and exploits you're opening up in your game. I might be tempted to recommend giving your Corvids a sort of limited gliding ability instead of full-blown flight.
    Also: how does flight interact with armour, heavy or otherwise?
    I'll probbaly be back later after a more through read of your other races (Your pigs are cool, though. It feels like you've just made Dwarves Lawful Evil and stuck them with pig snouts)
    The claws can be retracted to deal bludgeoning damage, yes. The last thing I wanted was for the Dragonclaws to step on Caster's toes, though. My original idea was simply to have them deal a flat 1d6 elemental damage, and I'll probably just go back to that. I had made it scale with level so that the ability didn't become underpowered at higher levels.

    As for Flight Speed, I'm at least going to change it so that Crows can't fly while wearing Medium or Heavy Armor. They already can't both fly and use a weapon until they're able to fly with some kind of magic. I'm still undecided on making it a glide, but if flight is too unbalanced, I'll most likely end up changing it.

    I'd like to thank everyone for their comments so far, they're exactly the kind of critiques I was looking for.
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    Red Sun Redux: a revised and revamped version that includes the new content released since the first version of the setting.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Maglubiyet View Post
    Ah, okay. Disregard my comments then. Except that turtles still can't breathe water.
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/science...their_tongues/

    Have a Musk Turtle Subrace (Small), with the ability to release sickening gas once per day and breathe underwater.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Very lovely. I am tempted to use it as a setting.

    I am uncomfortable with using animals as characters - I have trouble connecting to animals as characters. It is for this reason why I could never fully enjoy the Redwall series - it strained my suspension of disbelief too much. No opposable thumbs bothers me.

    However, I would like to use your ideas about history, and use the animal races as... personality/physical traits. The gods decided to both awaken and transform the animals into humanoid form (a rather convenient form). And these new humanoid figures will still retain many of the physical/mental traits of their original forms.

    Would this work well? Would you mind?

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Sun Gnome View Post
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/science...their_tongues/

    Have a Musk Turtle Subrace (Small), with the ability to release sickening gas once per day and breathe underwater.
    Ha! That's really funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeek0 View Post
    Very lovely. I am tempted to use it as a setting.

    I am uncomfortable with using animals as characters - I have trouble connecting to animals as characters. It is for this reason why I could never fully enjoy the Redwall series - it strained my suspension of disbelief too much. No opposable thumbs bothers me.

    However, I would like to use your ideas about history, and use the animal races as... personality/physical traits. The gods decided to both awaken and transform the animals into humanoid form (a rather convenient form). And these new humanoid figures will still retain many of the physical/mental traits of their original forms.

    Would this work well? Would you mind?
    Well, I tried to clarify earlier that these aren't just intelligent animals. They were physically transformed as well. The have animal like features and traits, but are very much humanoid. Think of the Khajiit in the Elder Scrolls, or the Canim of the Codex Alera, and you'd have a good idea of what some of them look like.

    I'd be fine with you using the stats, of course! I do think that because so much of the setting only exists in my head right now, I'd prefer if you adapted the races to your own setting, rather than using mine. If only for the moment! Once I get the rest typed up, I'd be happy to share.
    Red Sun: a D&D 5e setting based on DC comics!

    Red Sun Redux: a revised and revamped version that includes the new content released since the first version of the setting.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    No worries - I'd like to see your final product in any case. I'll try to pay attention to what you come up with!

    As a small note, it is my humble opinion that Darkvision is far too prolific in d&d. Every race gets darkvision except for halflings, dragonborn, and humans. To make it a more unique trait, you may want to only give it to Cats.

    And this is something that I just thought of now, but it may be useful to change the names of the races, much like how the Elder Scrolls calls them Khajits. Just a thought.
    Last edited by zeek0; 2015-03-30 at 06:43 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Animal Races for Homebrew Setting

    Quote Originally Posted by zeek0 View Post
    No worries - I'd like to see your final product in any case. I'll try to pay attention to what you come up with!

    As a small note, it is my humble opinion that Darkvision is far too prolific in d&d. Every race gets darkvision except for halflings, dragonborn, and humans. To make it a more unique trait, you may want to only give it to Cats.

    And this is something that I just thought of now, but it may be useful to change the names of the races, much like how the Elder Scrolls calls them Khajits. Just a thought.
    Well I have an update, of sorts! It gives a bit more insight into the cultures, without going too in depth. I still need to get that written up... Here are the religions of Agrimal, which I don't know if I said before, is what the world is named. Now, the Precursors were supposed to be vaguely Greco-Roman in culture, so the names of their gods were borrowed (read: entirely cribbed) from the game Hellas, which depicts Greek Myth through the lens of a Space Opera. The names of the Kalydonian gods are just the names of the Signs of the Zodiac in Greek. And the Morrigan gods are Nordic, because Norse Mythology has so many Raven and Crow motifs.

    As for Darkvision, Cats for sure need it, and Turtles should have it due to being accustomed to the dark and murky waters. The only other race who has it are Crows, who don't necessarily need it. I could take it from them and distinguish them from Halfings and Gnomes some other way... I'm just not sure what!

    Leaving the race names was, however, intentional. One of the sources of this setting is Animal Farm, and the animals there are simply called Pigs and Sheep and such. Something that would make it less confusing is the fact that all members of those species were uplifted into humanoid races. So there are no mundane dogs, cats, horses, etc. left in the world. All of them are people now. So you wouldn't have to worry about: "I ride a horse." "Wait, do you mean a horse, or a Horse?" Because there are no horses!
    Last edited by josienoms; 2015-04-07 at 10:33 AM.
    Red Sun: a D&D 5e setting based on DC comics!

    Red Sun Redux: a revised and revamped version that includes the new content released since the first version of the setting.

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