Detect Balance: a 5e Homebrew Race Guide
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FeatureInteger Point ValueExplanationCommentary
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Generic Scale
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A ribbon, not likely to make much difference1
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A sometimes useful feature2
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A frequently useful, or powerful feature4
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An unusually powerful feature.8
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Of course a feature could be worth any other values
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Synergy
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Some features don't work effectively together. When two features won't be beneficial to the same build, deduct half the score from the cheaper feature. The Mountain Dwarf is a good example. Builds that want +2 STR already have armor proficiencies. Builds that want armor training won't get much out of more STR.
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-
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Ability Score Increases
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ASI -2-4Negative ASIs are not in the PHB and should be avoided.
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ASI -1-2
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ASI +14
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Choice of ASI +15The ability score you want is always likely to be better, because of optimization.
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ASI +28
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ASI +312 +2/+1 or +1/+1/+1You shouldn't get a +3 or higher to a single stat.
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ASI +416 +2/+2 or +2/+1/+1Four separate +1's is less valuable (13), few builds use more than 3 stats.
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All ASI +116Bonuses to your dump stats aren't as useful as bonuses to your core abilities.
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Language
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Common & 1 languages0
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Common & 2 or 3 languages1
Languages in most games do not matter. You or someone in your party speaks a relevant language, or (intentionally via DM) no one does.
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Choice of Language1
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Speak with small beasts2
gives you access to a lot of common creatures. Any other language either gives you communication with rare creatures, or creatures that likely know Common.
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30 foot Telepathy with language barrier6Can communicate without speaking.Quite a potentially impactful ability.
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Skills
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Tool (or choice thereof) proficiency1
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Skill proficiency2
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Choice of Skill Proficiency3
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Choice of Two Skill Proficiencies5Can vary if it is from a limited list depending on how limited it is.
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Expertise on rare subset of a skill1
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Expertise on subset of a skill2
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Skill Proficiency and Expertise6
This gives the skill and doubles the proficiency bonus
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Magic
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Cantrip2
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Choice of Cantrip3
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L1 spell at 3rd, 1/day2
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L2 spell at 3rd, 1/day3
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L2 spell at 5th, 1/day2
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L3 spell at 5th, 1/day3
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L1 spell 1/day3
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L2 spell 1/day4
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One of three spells 1/day4
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Standard Delayed Magic6
A cantrip, level 1 spell at 3rd level, and a level 2 spell at 5th level. Can vary a point based on the spells.
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Resistances
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One Rare Resistance2Radiant, Force, Psychic or Thunder
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One Medium Resistance3Cold, Lightning, Necrotic, or Acid
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One Common Resistance4Fire or Poison
Monsters that do Fire or Poison damage are about twice as common as those that do any other type of non-physical damage.
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One Nonmagical Physical Resistance10Slashing or Piercing. Bludgeoning is 12.Bludgeoning includes fall damage. Overall resistance (including magical) can add 6.
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VulnerabilitiesVulnerabilities that aren't to the rarest of types should not be in play - any semicompetent enemy will abuse it to no end.
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One Rare Vulnerability-8Radiant, Force, Psychic or Thunder
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One Medium Vulnerability-16Cold, Lightning, Necrotic, or Acid
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One Common Vulnerability-20Fire or Poison
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One Physical Vulnerability-40Bludgeoning, Piercing, or SlashingDon't. Just don't.
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Movement
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20 ft speed-3
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25 ft speed-2
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30 ft speed0
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35 ft speed2
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40 ft speed5
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30 ft climb speed2
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Spider Climb4
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30 ft swim speed2
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Feline Agility4
this allows you to double your speed for a turn, without using an action. You then have to spend a turn not moving to refresh the ability.
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Aggressive3
Bonus action move your speed toward enemy
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Not Slowed by Armor2a character with heavy armor is unlikely to not have the minimum strength-- unless they have the dwarf armor training
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Ignore Rare type of Rough Terrain1
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Ignore Common type of Rough Terrain2
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Ignore non-magical Rough Terrain3
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Flight
Basically flight should really not be on a race, or have minimal additions to it, as in non-enclosed spaces (which there are many), you have immunity to melee attacks.
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Standard Fly 3016no med or heavy armor, no hover
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Hover18
doesn't fall when knocked prone or speed reduced
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Plus 5 ft fly speed3
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Plus 10 ft fly speed6
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Always On Feather Fall3
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Must land at End of Turn-12
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Unrestricted Fly 3024Flight even with armor.
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Senses
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Sunlight Sensitivity-3
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Darkvision 302
Darkvision means that races looking into the dark with darkvision see it as dim light, having disadvantage on perception checks, and thus -5 to their passive perception. Sight that ignores this is about twice as strong
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Darkvision +601Race has 60 darkvision, subrace upgrades to 120 (drow, duergar).
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Darkvision 603
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Darkvision 1204
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Blindsight to 30ft8
Allows sight through darkness, grants benefits of darkvision without the penalty of dark to dim light, and can see invisible enemies. Not inherently broken, but can sometimes be story breaking. Use with caution.
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Blindsight to 30ft, blind beyond4
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Advantage
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Advantage on a rare roll1
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