How to roleplay historical antipathy between character races

Traditionally, many character races in D&D have been defined to have a race with whom they share a mutual hatred: elves and orcs, dwarves and goblins, and gnomes and kobolds, for example. With Volo’s Guide, however, orcs, goblins, and kobolds are all playable races. How do we reconcile this in-story racial hatred with the meta requirement for characters in a party to support one another?

What playable races are new as official published races for DND, starting in 5e?

I have not played any previous editions and am curious what is new to DND 5e from previous additions. From this list – which I do not know if it is conclusive – I can see the following from 5e that are not in 4e:

  • Aasimar (similar to the Deva, though)
  • Aarokocra
  • Centaur
  • Firbolg
  • Grung
  • Leonin
  • Lizardfolk
  • Loxodon
  • Simic Hybrid
  • Tabaxi
  • Tortle
  • Triton
  • Vedalken
  • Verdan

Are any of these races overlapping with official material from previous editions? Are any of these from 4e that I mistook?

Is this Dryad race balanced when compared to officially published races?

In a similar vein to these two questions, I’ve made my own Dryad race, but without subraces for right now. I based the very basics off of tieflings, but replaced the damage resistance with the Speech of Beast and Leaf and Fey traits, as well as modifying the spells gotten in the tiefling three-tier spell progression; finally, I modified the languages known, and the +1 to Int went to Wis instead.

Is this race balanced when compared to officially published races?

If it is too weak, I was considering making the Speech of Beast and Leaf trait just make the dryad always under the effect of Speak with Animals spell, and grant a similar effect for plants. If they were still too weak, I was also considering adding either Charm Person or some other charm effect. If they were too strong, I’d get rid of one or two of the Forest Legacy spells.

Sapling Dryad

Speed. 30 ft.
Ability Bonuses. CHA 2, WIS 1
Age. Dryads mature much slower than most other races, and live much longer. They achieve maturity at age 100 and may live indefinitely if they are not killed. Most Saplings are between 50 and 200 years old.
Alignment. Dryads generally do not care for much outside their forests, but those that do are usually Good aligned.
Size. Dryads are usually slightly shorter than most humans. Your size is medium.
Darkvision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Speech of Beast and Leaf. You have the ability to communicate in a limited manner with beasts and plants. They can understand the meaning of your words, and can respond by communicating simple ideas.
Forest Legacy. You know the Druidcraft cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the entangle spell as a 2nd-level spell; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast the pass without trace spell; you must finish a long rest in order to cast the spell again using this trait. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Fey. You have two creature types: humanoid and fey. Because of this, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Sylvan.

Do the races of D&D have different core temperatures?

Are there any official sources of bioinformatics (for lack of better word; though mapping the elven genome might be a useful way to figure out their longevity…hmm…) for the races of Dungeons & Dragons? (Any edition) – besides the obvious height and weight tables in the Player’s Handbook.

Specifically, I’m looking for the core temperature of warm blooded races like dwarves, humans, elves. I’m also trying to figure out if Yuan-Ti pure blood spies can be identified via a simple thermometer test, assuming their snake features are hidden or minimal/not in a visible part of the body. (I have a character who looks human for all intents and purposes, but her abdomen is scaly, making her an ideal infiltrator.)

This is for a new custom setting where the snake people have essentially taken over the world. The warm blooded races are paranoid after years of being infiltrated and enslaved. And so I’m looking for the equivalent of the blood test in the movie The Thing with Kurt Russell.

Since this is a Post apocalyptic fantasy setting, with technology items pilfered from other planes, I’m also interested in a little bit more of the science and biology of the races. If in doubt, I’ll just make it up. Just figured I’d ask around first. Thanks!

What are the lifespans for PC races in Dragonlance?

Looking to streamline character creation in a game I am running where players record their characters age.

The problem; there is no comprehensive list of creature lifespans. Across source material maybe the information appears in a description, or in another edition, or in a novel.

Looking for an answer which can compile a list of PC creature lifespans. The game I am running is in the Age of Mortals, using BCEMI / AD&D rules, however I figure the relevant ages are likely consistent across editions.

Known PC creature options:

  • Human; Civilized, Nomads,
  • Elf; Half Elf, Kagonesti, Silvanesti, Dark, Sea
  • Dwarf; Gully, Hill, Mountain, Dark,
  • Kender; Afflicted,
  • Ogre; Half Ogre, Irda
  • Minotaur,
  • Gnome,
  • Centaur,

Are the Githyanki and the Githzerai separate races?


"If the two races were ever to team up against the illithids" – MToF, pg 85

"The githzerai were born as a race…" – MToF, pg 93, under the heading Githzerai

These two quotes imply that the Githyanki are (lorewise) two separate races. However,

"Long gone are the days when the gith race" – MToF, pg 87, under the heading VLAAKITH’S DILEMMA

Are the Gith one race with two subraces, or two races?

I would prefer 5e sources, that distinctly mention this, but if nothing else is avoidable, then sources from other editions are acceptable.

Is this (slightly revised) conversion of a 5e homebrew race in line with the power of “strong” (but still LA+0) 3.5e races?

I found a 5e “Anime Girl” race on dandwiki.com. Realistically most “anime girls” are just humans with plenty of class levels, but for the sake of general memery with some friends, I wanted to try converting the first listed subrace to 3.5e.

The Preface

I have come to understand that if you follow the link and read the name of the subrace I’m trying to convert, it’s a word that may raise some flags. It is not–and was never–my intention to sexualize anyone with the content of this question, nor the plans behind it. My friend group uses that term entirely wholesomely, unlike what (from a quick Google search) appears to be the case for the world at large. Because I use it and hear it used in a non-sexual context, I had forgotten that it even had such a disgusting connotation.

If I had specced more into Wisdom then maybe I would’ve looked more into the word and confirmed its inappropriateness for general use, but it didn’t even cross my mind–however, now I know. I apologize for using it in the previous version of this post, and for any feathers I may have ruffled by doing so. For the rest of the question, I’ll instead refer to the 5e subrace–and, by extension, 3.5e version of the race–as “Short Anime Girl”.

Link to the race/subrace

The Goal

Despite how it may seem not-so-serious, I’d still like for the race to be reasonably well-balanced and completely usable as an actual race–preferably closer to the high-tier options like dwarves and humans, but without being too powerful to be considered LA+0. If it falls a little short, that’s fine, but if it’s like kobolds or half-orcs which receive very little benefit compared to their drawbacks (especially relative to other races), then it could probably stand to be buffed.

Ideally, I want to keep the race as close to the source as possible, so as to just make a “3.5e version” of the 5e race rather than inventing anything too new. The original has seen numerous revisions, so I took the page’s entire history as valid inspiration, but I tried not to add or alter anything unless it was based on something that the 5e version of the race has actually mentioned at some point.

The Changes

The 5e version currently gives +1 to Charisma from the base race, and +1 to three other ability scores of the player’s choice from the subrace. Previous versions of the subrace only gave Charisma bonuses of varying sizes. Early versions of the race came with a Strength penalty but very large bonuses to other scores. Most versions of the subrace also imposed disadvantage on Strength rolls. All this in mind, I gave the race +2 Charisma, -2 Strength. The DMG says this is a highly-unfavorable set of modifiers, but the general consensus among players seems to be that such weighting is incorrect. The 5e race seems like one of its major benefits is having above-average total ability score bonuses, but aside from stuff like Lesser Planetouched, I think every 3.5e LA+0 race has net-zero ability score modifiers, so that’s the convention I followed.

The subrace has a size of Small, which I kept. Some versions have a walk speed of 25 feet, while others do not modify the race’s 30-foot speed. Specific beats general, and small/slow races in 3.5e tend to have a land speed of 20 feet, so I went with that. Most versions of the subrace have a carrying capacity increased to that of a Large creature, though. This seems like quite a huge jump, considering (or perhaps to counter) the reduced Strength, so I made the target carrying limit that of a Medium creature. 3.5e’s Powerful Build seems to do everything but increase carry limits, so I instead translated this carrying boost into allowing weapons and lifting/carrying limits as if the race were Medium.

Almost every version of the 5e race has had proficiency in Charisma (Persuasion) checks. Most versions of the subrace also gained proficiency in Charisma (Deception) checks as well as advantage on “Charisma and Persuasion checks”, despite having disadvantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. The current version replaces all these advantage/disadvantage traits with a limited-uses-per-day advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks. All in all, I took the idea of advantage on “Charisma…checks” and went with a +2 racial bonus on Charisma-based skills that involve interaction with intelligent creatures, with the exception of Intimidation, which gets a -2 racial penalty. I don’t know of any other races with racial skill penalties, but +2 to skills is quite common.

Another feature which has been universal among versions of the 5e race is awkward fall. In most versions this has been an action which damages the user and knocks her prone, while forcing the target to make an (untyped) saving throw or also take damage and fall prone. The most recent version clears up the appropriately-awkward wording, but attaches the feature to an optional part of the Attack action. I’m not aware of anything in 3.5e that causes you to take damage based on your own Strength modifier (which all versions of the 5e feature have done, despite the fact that that’s a lot of damage in a system where falling 10 feet deals just 1d6), but there is the bull rush special attack. So I just made an alternative to bull rushing, which knocks the user prone and–if successful–knocks the target prone, as well.

Almost all versions of the 5e race have had a trait which wanted slight reflavoring for the subrace. When the character is dealt bludgeoning damage, the attack “bounces off” and deals damage to the attacker. It’s unclear whether this is meant to negate the attack, but that would be extremely powerful. Instead, I simply gave the race DR 2/piercing or slashing (where 2 is based on the 1d4 recoil damage of the original)

Lastly, many versions of the 5e subrace have had a trait which has some implications that aren’t relevant to the 3.5e short anime girl race–and, if read literally, is far too powerful for any LA+0 racial trait, anyway. The name of the trait has to do with the idea of other creatures breaking rules in a not-okay way, but I figured it might work if I flipped it entirely, so that the trait instead allows the short anime girl herself to “break some rules” in a way that makes sense for the race:

3.5e (unlike 5e, AFAIK) generally requires characters to be adults (which, as with the 5e anime girl race at large, happens at the same age as for humans). However, there are lots of examples of characters–never mind just short girls–in anime becoming adventurers (even in “difficult” professions like wizard or monk) at any age, so it made sense to allow class levels regardless of age. It’s also particularly common for anime characters (short girls included) to live for hundreds or thousands of years. The current version of the 5e race imposes the same lifespan as humans, but earlier versions of the race said they “will live for however long they will”, which isn’t very clear but seems to imply that they can either will themselves to live, or are able to live until killed. Considering either reading of this phrase, getting rid of the maximum age made sense–in which case, it seemed too powerful to allow mental scores to accrue bonuses without penalties (but immortal characters in media seem none the weaker for their age, so physical age penalties didn’t make sense either), so I removed age-related ability score changes entirely, à la the Endless trait from Dragon Magazine. D&D Wiki has another race with many similarities to short anime girls (but which is pretty overpowered and wouldn’t lend itself to being converted to a LA+0 3.5e race) that has a trait which also gives an indefinite lifespan, so I took the new name from that, discarding any of the actual effects/flavor of the 5e subrace’s trait.

As for the last bits that all 3.5e races require: Common and “Senpai”(Japanese) are Automatic Languages, just like the 5e race. In 5e, Senpai can be traded out depending on the character’s appearance, but I don’t know of any 3.5e races that allow such language options. The race has any normal Bonus Languages to match the 5e version’s freely-chosen extra language. Also, any class can be a Favored Class, since 5e doesn’t have multiclass penalties.

The Result

Short Anime Girl Traits

• +2 Charisma, -2 Strength.

• Small: As a Small creature, a short anime girl gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks. However, short anime girls can use weapons designed for creatures one size larger without penalty, and their lifting and carrying limits are treated as if they were one size larger.

• Short anime girl base land speed is 20 feet.

• +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, and Perform checks.

• -2 racial penalty on Intimidate checks.

• Awkward Fall: When a short anime girl performs a bull rush, she can choose to turn the action into an awkward fall, gaining a +4 bonus on the Strength check. If the awkward fall attempt is successful, the defender moves back a maximum of 5 feet and falls prone. Regardless of the result, the short anime girl then falls prone.

• Protective Softness: Short anime girl have damage reduction 2/piercing or slashing.

• Limited Immortality: Short anime girls can take class levels at any age. They receive no bonuses or penalties due to age, and won’t die of old age.

• Automatic Languages: Common and Senpai. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).

• Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass short anime girl takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.

The… Problems?

Most of these features seem relatively minor to me, but many of them are things which don’t really have much precedent that I’m aware of when it comes to LA+0 races.

As such, I can’t decide if the race is super weak (the ability score modifiers are supposedly quite poor and no number of years will further increase Charisma, awkward fall is largely inconsequential–especially for a Small race, which also has to deal with reduced speed, and the race doesn’t have too many useful features going for it) or super strong (Small size but with Medium weapons/carrying gives powerful bonuses at little cost, the wide range of skill bonuses are very useful in urban adventures, inflicting prone every turn is too dominant or synergizes too well with some particular Feat, damage reduction increases survivability too much or is out-of-line with anything any other race receives, or there’s some unforeseen consequence to being able to adventure at any age).

So, as boring a phrase as I’m sure this may sound here… “Is this race balanced?”

Is this conversion of a 5e homebrew race in line with the power of “strong” (but still LA+0) 3.5e races?

I found this 5e “Anime Girl” race. Realistically most “anime girls” are just humans with plenty of class levels, but for the sake of general memery, I wanted to try converting the loli subrace to 3.5e.

The Goal

Despite how it may seem not-so-serious, I’d still like for the race to be reasonably well-balanced and completely usable as an actual race–preferably closer to the high-tier options like dwarves and humans, but without being too powerful to be considered LA+0. If it falls a little short, that’s fine, but if it’s like kobolds or half-orcs which receive very little benefit compared to their drawbacks (especially relative to other races), then it could probably stand to be buffed.

Ideally, I want to keep the race as close to the source as possible, so as to just make a “3.5e version” of the 5e race rather than inventing anything too new. The original has seen numerous revisions, so I took the page’s entire history as valid inspiration, but I tried not to add or alter anything unless it was based on something that the 5e version of the race has actually mentioned at some point.

The Changes

The 5e version currently gives +1 to Charisma from the base race, and +1 to three other ability scores of the player’s choice from the subrace. Previous versions of the subrace only gave Charisma bonuses of varying sizes. Early versions of the race came with a Strength penalty but very large bonuses to other scores. Most versions of the subrace also imposed disadvantage on Strength rolls. All this in mind, I gave the race +2 Charisma, -2 Strength. The DMG says this is a highly-unfavorable set of modifiers, but the general consensus among players seems to be that such weighting is incorrect. The 5e race seems like one of its major benefits is having above-average total ability score bonuses, but aside from stuff like Lesser Planetouched, I think every 3.5e LA+0 race has net-zero ability score modifiers, so that’s the convention I followed.

The subrace has a size of Small, which I kept. Some versions have a walk speed of 25 feet, while others do not modify the race’s 30-foot speed. Specific beats general, and small races in 3.5e generally have a land speed of 20 feet, so I went with that. Most versions of the subrace have a carrying capacity increased to that of a Large creature, though. This seems like quite a huge jump, considering (or perhaps to counter) the reduced Strength, so I made the target carrying limit that of a Medium creature. 3.5e’s Powerful Build seems to do everything but increase carry limits, so I instead translated this carrying boost into allowing weapons and lifting/carrying limits as if the race were Medium.

Almost every version of the 5e race has had proficiency in Charisma (Persuasion) checks. Most versions of the subrace also gained proficiency in Charisma (Deception) checks as well as advantage on “Charisma and Persuasion checks”, despite having disadvantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. The current version replaces all these advantage/disadvantage traits with a limited-uses-per-day advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks. All in all, I took the idea of advantage on “Charisma…checks” and went with a +2 racial bonus on Charisma-based skills that involve interaction with intelligent creatures, with the exception of Intimidation, which gets a -2 racial penalty.

Another feature which has been universal among versions of the 5e race is awkward fall. In most versions this has been an action which damages the user and knocks her prone, while forcing the target to make an (untyped) saving throw or also take damage and fall prone. The most recent version clears up the appropriately-awkward wording, but attaches the feature to an optional part of the Attack action. I’m not aware of anything in 3.5e that causes you to take damage based on your own Strength modifier (which all versions of the 5e feature have done, despite the fact that that’s a lot of damage in a system where falling 10 feet deals just 1d6), but there is the bull rush special attack. So I just made an alternative to bull rushing, which knocks the user prone and–if successful–knocks the target prone, as well.

Almost all versions of the 5e race have had a trait which wanted slight reflavoring for the subrace. When the character is dealt bludgeoning damage, the attack “bounces off” and deals damage to the attacker. It’s unclear whether this is meant to negate the attack, but that would be extremely powerful. Instead, I simply gave the race DR 2/piercing or slashing (where 2 is based on the 1d4 recoil damage of the original)

Lastly, many versions of the subrace have had a trait which probably existed mostly as a joke, but has the potential to be incredibly powerful if played straight: while in a city, any creature that feels sexually attracted to the character is “instantly” arrested. Gating in a zelekhut would be pretty funny, but doesn’t seem reasonable for a racial trait. Seeing as how the trait is called “Illegal”, I retooled its effects, so as to bypass a couple 3.5e systems in a way that I thought made sense: The character can ignore most things in the Random Starting Ages and Aging Effects tables. 3.5e (unlike 5e, AFAIK) generally requires characters to be adults, but lolis in media are frequently not adults, so it made sense to waive that restriction. The hundred-(or thousand-)year-old loli is also a common trope, and earlier versions of the 5e race said they “will live for however long they will”, which isn’t very clear but seems to imply that they can either will themselves to live, or are able to live until killed. Either way, getting rid of the maximum age made sense for that–in which case, it seemed too powerful to allow mental scores to accrue bonuses without penalties (but immortal lolis in media seem none the weaker for their age, so physical age penalties didn’t make sense either), so I removed age-related ability score changes entirely, à la the Endless trait from Dragon Magazine.

As for the last bits that all 3.5e races require: Common and “Senpai”(Japanese) are Automatic Languages, just like the 5e race. In 5e, Senpai can be traded out depending on the character’s appearance, but I don’t know of any 3.5e races that allow such language options. The race has any normal Bonus Languages to match the 5e version’s freely-chosen extra language. Also, any class can be a Favored Class, since 5e doesn’t have multiclass penalties.

The Result

Loli Traits

• +2 Charisma, -2 Strength.

• Small: As a Small creature, a loli gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks. However, lolis can use weapons designed for creatures one size larger without penalty, and their lifting and carrying limits are treated as if they were one size larger.

• Loli base land speed is 20 feet.

• +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Gather Information, and Perform checks.

• -2 racial penalty on Intimidate checks.

• Awkward Fall: When a loli performs a bull rush, she can choose to turn the action into an awkward fall, gaining a +4 bonus on the Strength check. If the awkward fall attempt is successful, the defender moves back a maximum of 5 feet and falls prone. Regardless of the result, the loli then falls prone.

• Protective Softness: Lolis have damage reduction 2/piercing or slashing.

• Illegal (or Not): Lolis can take class levels at any age, even before reaching adulthood. If a loli reaches adulthood, she becomes a legal loli and will receive no bonuses or penalties due to age, and won’t die of old age.

• Automatic Languages: Common and Senpai. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic).

• Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass loli takes an experience point penalty, her highest-level class does not count.

The… Problems?

Most of these features seem relatively minor to me, but many of them are things which don’t really have much precedent that I’m aware of when it comes to LA+0 races.

As such, I can’t decide if the race is super weak (the ability score modifiers are supposedly quite poor and no number of years will further increase Charisma, awkward fall is largely inconsequential–especially for a Small race, which also has to deal with reduced speed, and the race doesn’t have too many useful features going for it) or super strong (Small size but with Medium weapons/carrying gives powerful bonuses at little cost, the wide range of skill bonuses are very useful in urban adventures, inflicting prone every turn is too dominant or synergizes too well with some particular Feat, damage reduction increases survivability too much or is out-of-line with anything any other race receives, or there’s some unforeseen consequence to being able to adventure at any age).

So, as boring a phrase as I’m sure this may sound here… “Is this race balanced?”

Is this “Cuetzpali” Race Balanced relative to PHB races?

As background, I wanted to create something akin to a the Lizardmen from Age of Sigmar. Different from the Lizardfolk in Volo’s in that they’re not swamp dwelling savages but have a highly ordered and developed (although strange) social order.

According to Detect Balance it seems pretty reasonable, but I wanted to make sure there aren’t any unintended synergies (or that it’s just out of whack in general).

Cuetzpali

Cuetzpali are a race of man-sized, lizard-like humanoids decorated with a frill of feathers around their neck that sometimes extends down their backs or arms as well. They live regimented lives in vast temple-cities following a rigid caste system which dictates their life path from the moment they hatch from their leathery eggs. They worship the sun as the source of all life and spend significant time charting the motion of the sun, moon and stars as an act of devotion and to determine the caste of newly laid clutches of eggs.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increase by 2, and your Strength score increases by 1.

Age. Cuetzpali reach maturity around age 10 and often live to be 80 years old.

Alignment. Virtually all Cuetzpali are lawful. Their society is bound by a strict caste system and all Cuetzpali can instinctively sense whether a given Cuetzpali is higher or lower on the social ladder than them.

Size. Cuetzpali are similar in height and bulk to humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Cold Blooded. Cuetzpali feel emotions less strongly than warm-bloods. You have advantage on saving throws against effects which cause the Charm or Fear conditions.

Slow Metabolism. Cuetzpali commonly eat things which would be toxic to warm-bloods. You have resistance to poison damage and advantage on saving throws against the Poisoned condition.

Stargazers. Cuetzpali spend significant time observing the heavens and charting the movement of heavenly bodies. You have proficiency with Navigator’s Tools.

Theocratic. Cuetzpali society is based on a deeply theocratic caste system. You have proficiency in the Religion skill.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Primordial.