Fireclave's Guide to 4e Race Mechanic Creation

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Btw, that page of yours is quite good.

Thanks. It's still far from complete, but I'm proud of the progress I've made so far. But on to more relevant matters.

And Fireclave that question is directed at you too. Where would you like this discussion to take place? Because I heavily disagree with a lot of the suggestions you gave him for the race that he created...

At the rate this conversation is going, a separate thread would be ideal. Not only because Magus's questions are becoming more specific to his races, but also because his races should get more attention in their own topic.

No, that idea is just as bad on a PC race as Oversized is.

Agreed.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Oh, btw, another general question. Would it be balanced to change the Elf's Group Awareness for a +1 to ranged attack rolls (+2 at level 11 and +3 at 21)?
Oh, btw, another general question. Would it be balanced to change the Elf's Group Awareness for a +1 to ranged attack rolls (+2 at level 11 and +3 at 21)?

Absolutely not. That's a ridiculously good racial feature, and even if giving a +1 to ranged attack rolls was appropriate, it should never scale, because a +1 bonus to hit is exactly as useful at 30th level as it is at 1st. Bonuses to hit never need to scale, only bonuses to damage do (exception is if your racial power has an attack roll).

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Unless I'm missing something, the Elf's Group Awareness ability grants non-elf allies a bonus to Perception, not attack rolls
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Unless I'm missing something, the Elf's Group Awareness ability grants non-elf allies a bonus to Perception, not attack rolls

Yes, that was the question. What if hypothetically it were to be changed to a bonus to ranged attack rolls instead of a bonus to perception checks?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Yes, that was the question. What if hypothetically it were to be changed to a bonus to ranged attack rolls instead of a bonus to perception checks?

Okay, I see now. Then, yeah, what Crim said.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
But wait, I'm not saying a bonus to ranged attacks to all party members, just for the player. And without scaling it, of course. Ranged basic attack rolls, maybe?
But wait, I'm not saying a bonus to ranged attacks to all party members, just for the player. And without scaling it, of course. Ranged basic attack rolls, maybe?

Still no. Then you've still got a racial feature that's only useful for a very limited number of classes. A features that's ridiculously good for some classes and completely useless for other classes is generally a terrible idea, and this is not one of the ridiculously few exceptions.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
But isn't that the same as the Half-orc's swift charge racial feature? I mean, a wizard won't likely charge, isn't it?
But isn't that the same as the Half-orc's swift charge racial feature? I mean, a wizard won't likely charge, isn't it?

And that's why that specific racial feature is badly designed. In my games, I make that a racial feat and swap in the Anger Unleashed feat for it instead. WotC makes mistakes too. What's important is that we be able to recognize when they have made those mistakes and to learn from them instead of repeating them.

Oh if only I could give the guy who designed that Half-Orc racial feature such an earful...

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Hmm... And, what if I give the option to choose from one of the two? Fluffed, one would be a leader elf, and the other a marksman elf. That would make sense, isn't it?

:D
Hmm... And, what if I give the option to choose from one of the two? Fluffed, one would be a leader elf, and the other a marksman elf. That would make sense, isn't it?

:D

If hypothetically a +1 to hit with ranged attacks weren't overpowered anyways, then yes, that would be a reasonable solution. But a +1 to hit with ranged attacks as a racial feature is overpowered anyways, so no, it's not actually a reasonable solution.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Ok, ok, I get the point.

I'm still insisting in the archer-themed elves, so here's another idea: how about if I reduce the penalty for long ranged attacks to -1 instead of -2? Still too overpowered?

Geez, what can I do to show the elves as archers (other than the weapon proficiency ability)?
. . . Are you serious? Elves are already perfect archers. It's as though they were basically made with the Archer Ranger specifically in mind. Is you're complaint that their racial traits don't specifically pigeon-hole them into only ever being Archer Rangers? Because that's by intentional design, and it's a good thing.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Ok, Ok, I get it... I won't insist on that anymore...
Would you mind taking a look at my take on a lizardfolk (or set thereof, actually) PC race? I intended it to be on the strong side, although I think I may have pushed it too far. However, I felt it was better to err on the strong side for a first draft and then revise as necessary rather than the other way around. I tend to be fairly generous with player power (since I am equally or more generous to monster/external power). Also, if you have an alternative suggestion for Healing Scale, I'd love to hear it -- it's stolen right from the Dragonborn. I'd like something... scaly.

My player has already seen it, but she's usually very amenable to changes, or I wouldn't trust her to see drafts.

Lizardfolk

RACIAL TRAITS
Average Height: 6'0” - 7'2”
Average Weight: 230-280 lb.

Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Normal

Languages: Common, draconic
Healing Scales: Your healing surge value is equal to one-quarter of your maximum hit points + your constitution modifier.
Lizardfolk Weapon Training: You are proficient with the shortspear, javelin, longspear and trident and you treat all spears as brutal 1.
Deep Lung: You can hold your breath for up to 10 minutes before requiring saving throws.
Swamp Walk: You ignore difficult terrain if it is the result of bog, mud, or shallow water.


GREENSCALE LIZARDFOLK
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Perception
Tail Slash: As a Greenscale, you have the tail slash power.


BLACKSCALE LIZARDFOLK
Ability Scores: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution
Indomitable Dimwittedness: You have a +1 racial bonus to Will.
Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 Intimidate
Retaliatory Bite: As a Blackscale, you have the retaliatory bite power.


POISONSCALE LIZARDFOLK
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence
Skill Bonuses: +2 Stealthy, +2 Nature
Gut Spit: As a Poisonscale, you have the gut spit power.

---

Tail Slash

You crouch down, building energy for a great twist of your body before your tail slashes all around you.

Encounter
Minor Action Close Burst 1
Targets: All creatures in area
Attack: Dexterity +2 vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Strength modifier damage.
Increase to +4 bonus and 2d8 + Strength modifier damage at 11th level, and to +6 bonus and 3d8 + Strength modifier damage at 21st level.

---

Retaliatory Bite

Your ripping teeth punish a foe for their impudence.

Encounter
Immediate Interrupt
Targets: One target
Trigger: You or an adjacent ally is attacked while yielding combat advantage.
Attack: Strength +4 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + Strength modifier damage and leaves the target dazed until the end of your next turn.
Increase to +6 bonus and 2d10 + Strength modifier damage at 11th level, and to +8 bonus and 3d10 + Strength modifier damage at 21st level.

---

Gut Spit

You make a harsh noise in the back of your throat before launching a blast of viscous spittle at your foe.

Encounter
Minor Action * Poison
Targets: One target Ranged 5
Attack: Constitution +2 vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + Constitution modifier poison damage and takes 5 ongoing poison damage (save ends).
Increase to +4 bonus, 2d8 + Constitution modifier poison damage and 10 ongoing poison damage (save ends). Increase to +6 bonus, 3d8 + Constitution modifier poison damage and 15 ongoing poison damage (save ends).
I'd PEACH this, but it really should have its own thread. This is a thread for discussing Fireclave's Guide.
To focus on the guide itself, I would just like to state (because no one else has) that WotC gave the Gnolls Abyssal language as one of their racial languages. And to be honest I have yet to figure out what reason PC's can't learn one of these languages at lvl 1 (however at lvl 2 its just fine, in fact I had a player retrain his linguist feat at level 2 and pick up both languages, simply to prove he could). The Gnoll may show that Wotc is rethinking that whole idea, or it may be a mistake, but either way what specific reason do you see that Supernal or Abyssal should not be given as a racial language.

Edit: Also to bring something up from the EPG. The doppelgangers from that book get the following for racial stat bonuses: Dexterity or Intelligence +2, Charisma +2. Personally I question the wisdom of this on the part of WotC, and do not myself plan to use this, however if someone wanted to, anyone have suggestions on reconciling the balance of it?
I'd PEACH this, but it really should have its own thread.

I agree. Discussing design philosophies or individual mechanics is one thing, but critiquing entire races is not really what this thread is for.

@Goldgrae - That said, I'd hate to have you come here asking for advice only to be met with "Get outta of my thread." So I will comment briefly on your races. For the most part, I only have problems with their encounter abilities.

Tail Slash - It's damage is a bit higher than what I would prefer to see on a racial AoE (I prefer to use the Dragonborn's damage progression as the cap), but more importantly, my issue is with the attack stat. Being only strength based makes this power very useless to any class or build that doesn't focus in strength. And that's a lot of them. Allowing the choice of additional stats would fix that (I suggest dex and con).

Retaliatory Bite - Daze bad. No daze good. Also, the target line should unambiguously specify a specific target. Finally, what do you mean by "yielding combat advantage."

Gut Spit - Does crazy good damage. Remember that ongoing damage hits at the beginning of your turn, but you don't get to save until the end. So even at heroic, a foe is taking 1d8+con+5 points on a hit guaranteed, and will likely take more. I suggest either removing the ongoing damage completely or moving it to a paragon-tier feat (sans the scaling). I did the same with one of my homebrew races, where a non-scaling Ongoing 6 damage about equaled the average damage output of the Dragonborn's Enlarge Breath feat.

I do suggest, however, that you create your own thread. That way, your race will get the attention that it deserves from a larger audience of potential reviewers.

To focus on the guide itself, I would just like to state (because no one else has) that WotC gave the Gnolls Abyssal language as one of their racial languages. [/QUOTE[
I hadn't realized that. Thanks for pointing that out.

And to be honest I have yet to figure out what reason PC's can't learn one of these languages at lvl 1 (however at lvl 2 its just fine, in fact I had a player retrain his linguist feat at level 2 and pick up both languages, simply to prove he could).

Besides for flavor reasons, my assumption is that WotC and wants to keep those languages restricted so they can serve as a resource tax for prerequisites in feature material. I just got my EPG today, and the Sivis Truenamer path actually has Supernal as a prerequisite, and we might see more of the same in Divine Power.

Also to bring something up from the EPG. The doppelgangers from that book get the following for racial stat bonuses: Dexterity or Intelligence +2, Charisma +2. Personally I question the wisdom of this on the part of WotC, and do not myself plan to use this, however if someone wanted to, anyone have suggestions on reconciling the balance of it?

From a purely mechanical point of view, I don't think there are any balance apparent balance problems. While the ability to choice between Dex or Int does make them more versatile than most races, at the end of the day, that choice doesn't make them any more or less powerful.

I would even go so far to say that in most cases, allowing any race to have any combination of racial bonuses would not affect overall balance. It would make races less focus and trample all over the poor humans who would need some form of compensation, but overall most races would not much more powerful for it, I think.

Regardless, I think the trend with the Doppelgangers is going to remain the exception and not the norm. Doppelgangers are suppose to be known for versatility (and even get a paragon path dedicated to that concept), so the idea was not implemented entirely arbitrarily. As far as ability scores go, they're still not as versatile as humans.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Have Gnolls been in a DDI article like minotaurs and warforged? If they're still strictly an MM write-up, doesn't it not matter at all that abyssal is one of their starting languages?

By the way, good work, Fireclave. If there isn't one of these for class creation yet, there should be...because many homebrew classes are in dire need of being set straight.
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Yes gnolls were in a ddi article some time back towards the beginning (during the free trail period if I'm not mistaken). And many people like crimson think that they were terribly done, which I can agree with to some extent. Its off topic but the link to the article is here
Yes gnolls were in a ddi article some time back towards the beginning (during the free trail period if I'm not mistaken). And many people like crimson think that they were terribly done, which I can agree with to some extent.

Sure, if by "think" you mean "know", "realize", "notice", or "understand". :P

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I have a question. How would the currently published and DDI races stack up against the rules of this guide or just balance in general? I am guessing that Gnolls and Minotaurs are on the low end, but which race is a good standard for balance?


PS: How do you do that card effect for racial powers Fireclave?
I have a question. How would the currently published and DDI races stack up against the rules of this guide or just balance in general? I am guessing that Gnolls and Minotaurs are on the low end, but which race is a good standard for balance?

Hmm, well let's see... In order of how well they're designed from best to worst, here's my analysis...

Deva, Drow, Goliath, Human, Shifter, and Warforged are perfect!
Eladrin and Elf are really high up there too.
And If it weren't for Small size being terribly handled, Halfling would perfect as well. I would say the same of Gnome, but the fact that Master Trickster is completely useless to Wizards rubs me the wrong way.

I have a personal issue with Dwarves and the fact that Encumbered Speed really is practically useless to half of the classes out there, but I don't think I can really legitimately complain about anything other than the tradition here, so I usually let this slide when I discuss poor racial design in the existing races. It's the same reason I generally let racial weapon proficiencies slide too (which are why Eladrin and Elf are up there but not quite perfect). Therefore, letting Encumbered Speed slide, Dwarf is up there with Eladrin and Elf.
I definitely wouldn't let a thing like Encumbered Speed slide for any homebrew races, though.

I dislike that Tieflings are only given a single option for the ability score they use to deal extra damage with their racial power, because I feel like it's just too limiting, so I let players pick between CON, INT, and CHA for that one.
Dragonborn are great except for requiring a CON investment to make Draconic Heritage useful. I let my players take a minimum +1 bonus on that so they still get a benefit even if it's illogical for their build or their character to invest in CON.
I put Tiefling above Dragonborn though because at least Tiefling will always get that +1 bonus to hit from their racial power even if they have no CHA modifier to add damage with.

I just dislike that the Changeling and most Genasi get defense bonuses that are completely unnecessary. My problem with this really is just that I feel like somebody took the easy way out by giving them a boring, unoriginal feature instead of something that would be interesting and unique. Same thing with the upcoming PHB3 Wilden, come to think of it...

On the flip side, Kalashtar are completely missing their racial defense bonus for being a WIS/CHA race, so I'll put them here.

(EDIT: Just to be clear, this is where I'm going to set the line for acceptably well done to unacceptably poorly done.)

I don't think Half-Elf's Dilettante was very well thought out because of how it doesn't allow you to use implements associated with the class you got the power from. To compensate, I allow players of mine who select the race a +2 enhancement bonus per tier to their Dilettante power. This won't stack with weapon or implement enhancements, of course, but if it requires something totally outside what you're class it allowed, you're not totally screwed.

Getting back on the topic of the Genasi, though, I have a particular bone to pick with the Storm ones because their racial power is completely useless unless you specifically select certain class powers or weapons. Really, a level 1 Genasi Tactical Warlord should be a great option, but being completely unable to use your racial power is a total downer.

I absolutely despise the Half-Orc's Swift Charge. Who the heck decided it would be a good idea to give these guys a feature useful for only about a third of the classes out there and almost completely useless to the rest? This was a terrible decision. I let my players have it if they want, but I also give them the option of getting one of their racial feats for free instead: Anger Unleashed, Savage Assault, or Thirst for Battle.
And of course the Gnoll and Minotaur have this same problem just a lot worse, so they're the bottom of the barrel, with Gnoll being slightly more acceptable than Minotaur because it at least has one or two things it can do without being required to be a member of a melee weapon class.

(EDIT: Though really if we do decide to take into account how badly handled Small size was, then I'm actually going to have to put Halfling and Gnome at the bottom for getting racial penalties. I remove the Small size weapon restrictions and limitations from my games, which is why I have them rated up there, but really, playing RAW, at least a Half-Orc, Gnoll, or Minotaur who decides to play against type isn't specifically penalized for it.)

I don't actually know where to put Revenant because I just don't understand them.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
PS: How do you do that card effect for racial powers Fireclave?

You can quote his post and see how it is done. (Use the deck tag [,deck,] (without the commas))
PS: How do you do that card effect for racial powers Fireclave?

Exactly like this:

[noparse]
[/noparse]

The result is:

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
@ Crimson_Concerto: Thanks so much for answering my question. It really helps gain perspective on what to look at as an example for good design.

@ Magus_Stragus and Fireclave: Thanks for answering the question. This should help make my future homebrew races that much cleaner.
Btw, why the shifters are perfect, if they have only one racial feature (the racial power)? Is that power enough to balance them with the other races?
Btw, why the shifters are perfect, if they have only one racial feature (the racial power)? Is that power enough to balance them with the other races?

Yup. Notice that unlike most other racial powers, the Shifter racial power lasts all encounter long once they use it. May not be the most exciting race when it comes to the mechanics, but it is perfectly balanced and perfectly well designed.
Do note that my list has nothing to do with whether or not I like a race or thing it's cool or exciting. Half-Orc Minotaur are actually some of my favorites, and I care next to nothing about Goliath or Drow.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
So, let's say I want to mix the two different types of shifters. Would it be balanced to give them upon shifting +2 to damage rolls and +1 to AC and Reflex? ('ll leave the regeneartion as a feat)
Ok, another question. Are these powers balanced?

Racial Power 1
Encounter ✦ Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison
Requirements: You must be bloodied.
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You gain temporary hit points equal to your Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier. Until the end of your next turn you gain the following benefits: double the resistance granted by your Dragon Skin feature; when you deal damage with a melee attack, you deal an additional Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier damage; and creatures that begin their turns adjacent to you take Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier damage.
Special: When you create your character, choose Strength, Constitution, or Charisma to use with this power. You also choose the power’s damage type: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison. These two choices remain throughout your character’s life and do not change the power’s other effects.

Racial Power 2
Encounter
Minor Action Close burst 5
Effect: Allies within burst gain +2 bonus to their next damage roll, and gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution or Charisma modifier. Increase the bonus to +4 at level 11st and to +6 at level 21st.
Special: When you create your character, choose Constitution, or Charisma as the ability score you use for granting temporary hit points. This choice remains throughout your character’s life and does not change the power’s other effects.


So, what about them?
I have a question about changeable ability scores. How balanced are they compared to normal races, and does the extra choice give too much?

Would it be bad if other homebrew races had similar variety with ability scores? For example would it be that bad to combine the Shifters into one race with the stats of +2 Wis, and +2 Dex or +2 Str?

Also how would you balance a race this type of option where it has +2 Int and +2 Wis or +2 Dex or something similar where the race has an option where both stats hit the same NAD?
So, let's say I want to mix the two different types of shifters. Would it be balanced to give them upon shifting +2 to damage rolls and +1 to AC and Reflex? ('ll leave the regeneartion as a feat)

I don't see any balance issues with combining the bonus damage with the defence boosts. The regen, however, I think feel is too for a feat as it would basically allow a player to get the best of both racial powers at the same time.


Ok, another question. Are these powers balanced?

Racial Power 1
Encounter ✦ Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison
Requirements: You must be bloodied.
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You gain temporary hit points equal to your Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier. Until the end of your next turn you gain the following benefits: double the resistance granted by your Dragon Skin feature; when you deal damage with a melee attack, you deal an additional Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier damage; and creatures that begin their turns adjacent to you take Strength, Constitution or Charisma modifier damage.
Special: When you create your character, choose Strength, Constitution, or Charisma to use with this power. You also choose the power’s damage type: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison. These two choices remain throughout your character’s life and do not change the power’s other effects.

This is a very loaded power. Breaking it down, it gives you:
Temp HP
x2 an unspecified amount of energy resistance (Dragon Skin works how?), but I assume it's not neglibile.
Bonus damage to next attack
Auto-hit AoE and minion clearance.

All in all, I think this is too strong for a standard racial power. The bonus damage by itself makes it almost equal to Infernal Wraith, and would be make it a decent power by itself if it wasn't for the melee only restriction. Everything else just cranks it to 11. And AoE automatic minion destruction just feels cheesy to me.

I say pick one, maybe two, of those effects and tweak from there.


Racial Power 2
Encounter
Minor Action Close burst 5
Effect: Allies within burst gain +2 bonus to their next damage roll, and gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution or Charisma modifier. Increase the bonus to +4 at level 11st and to +6 at level 21st.
Special: When you create your character, choose Constitution, or Charisma as the ability score you use for granting temporary hit points. This choice remains throughout your character’s life and does not change the power’s other effects.

This is an potentially cheesy effect as well. In fact, I did a bit a math to help illustrate.

Warning: Math isn't my strongest skill, but I believe I calculated these numbers accurately enough to make my point.

Let's compare Racial Power's 2 bonus damage to that of the Dragonborn's dragon breath. We'll assume a starting con of 16 and assume that con is increased at every opportunity.

Further, we will also assume that every recipient of Racial Power 2 makes one attack against a single target.

Dragonborn's Dragon Breath - Damage<br /> Assume 16 con (+3) to start<br /> #d6 mod b.avg m.avg min max<br /> Heroic (1st) +3 3.5 6.5 4.0 9.0<br /> Paragon (11th) +4 7.0 10.5 6.0 16.0<br /> Epic (21st) +6 10.5 16.5 9.0 24.0<br /> High Epic (30th) +8 10.5 18.5 12.0 26.0<br /> <br /> mod - constitution modifier<br /> b.avg - base damage average before adding con modifier<br /> m.avg - average damage including con modifier<br /> min - minimum damage<br /> max - maximum damage<br /> <br /> ---<br /> <br /> Racial Power 2 - Damage<br /> <br /> Party Size: p.a 3 4 5 6 7 8 9<br /> Heroic +2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 <br /> Paragon +4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32<br /> Epic +6 12 18 20 30 36 42 48<br /> <br /> p.a - bonus damage dealt per person. (Reminder: In 4e, you are not your own ally).

4e assumes a average party size of 5. Under such a party size, assuming that all relevant attacks hit, Racial Power 2 consistently holds an advantage over the average damage of a moderately optimized Dragonbreath, is roughly on par with a party size of four, and grossly overtakes it with larger sized parties.

But again, that assumes that the party is only benefiting from attacking a single target. Area effects are wide open for abuse with the ability since you only make a single damage roll with AoE's. Imagine how high the gross damage could jump in a party of controllers and striker-controllers.

And as for the bonus temp HP, while the temp hp value per ally might seem token, it does add up.

Racial Power 2 - Temp HP<br /> Assumptions:<br /> 16 con (+3) to start for all purposes<br /> mod P.HP P.Surge W.HP W.Surge t.mit.5<br /> Heroic (1st) +3 31 7 26 6 12<br /> Paragon (11th) +4 94 23 69 17 16 <br /> Epic (21st) +6 157 38 112 28 24<br /> High Epic (30th) +8 213 53 150 37 32

To summarize the above, in a five-man party, Racial Power 2 grants a bit under a wizard's healing surge party-wide total damage mitigation per use, per encounter. While not huge consider other temp HP abilities, it is nothing to sneeze at either.


Overall, Racial Power 2 feels overpowered to me as written. It's effectively Dragonbreath+1 in terms of overall effects, and abusable with large parties. Adding some tighter controls over how the bonus damage is spread out would really help (a max number of recipients, for example).


I have a question about changeable ability scores. How balanced are they compared to normal races, and does the extra choice give too much?

Honestly, I don't think changeable stats affect racial balance much from a purely mechanical standpoint. I've only have access to the PH1, PH2, EPG, and the free editions of Dragon. That had, I have yet come across any race that I would consider overpowered, let alone broken, should their stats be changed to any other combination.

However, changeable stats do have two potentially negative consequences. First, shifting stats can dilute or undermine some of the races implied flavor, especially in relationship to other races. For example, it would be hard to justify Dragonborn being a strong race if they weren't actually stronger than other races. Likewise, it would be hard to justify them as a strong race if other races known better for their lack of strength, such as halflings or elves, are stronger than them.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, shifting stats undermine the human in their core role as being the adaptable everyman race. Humans are the ones that are supposed to be the ones who adapt easily to any class. Giving that capability to other races, even if you mechanically compensate humans for their lost niche shtick, still takes part of that flavor aspect away from humans.

That said, the only ability shifting race I'm familiar with is the changling/doppleganger from the EPG. And I feel it important to note that they only one of their stats vary, and only between two choices; charisma and then int or dex. So while they are more versatile than other races (which makes some sense with them being dopplegangers), they are far from stepping on the humans' toes.

Would it be bad if other homebrew races had similar variety with ability scores? For example would it be that bad to combine the Shifters into one race with the stats of +2 Wis, and +2 Dex or +2 Str?

If we are only talking about ability scores, shifters effectively have shifting scores. Shifters are a single race with closely tied sub-races. You get +2 wis, and then choose +2 dex or +2 str. Unlike other ability-shifting races, like changelings, your choice of str or dex also happens to determine your other racial features as well.

But, in short, I don't see any problem eliminating the sub-race divide and making them a single race. That is assuming, of course, you don't double up on the racial abilities; ie. don't grant them both Longtooth Shifting and Razorclaw Shifting at the same time, for example.

Also how would you balance a race this type of option where it has +2 Int and +2 Wis or +2 Dex or something similar where the race has an option where both stats hit the same NAD?

With the stat combination that grants a bonus to the same NAD, and only with that combination, grant a +1 bonus to a single NAD.

Likely, it would probably make the most sense for that bonus to apply to the same defense the other combination has...(Using your example):

+2 Int, +2 Wis : Effective bonus to Ref and Will. No change.
+2 Int, +2 Dex : Effecitive bonus to Ref, missing Will. Grant +1 Will.

...but that need not be the case. As this is equally valid.

+2 Int, +2 Wis : Effective bonus to Ref and Will. No change.
+2 Int, +2 Dex : Effective bonus to Ref. Grant +1 Fort.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Ok, thanks for the help. I ditched the Racial Power 1, and changed Racial Power 2. Also, another power:

Invigorating Howl Kyan Racial Power
You let out a howl that fills your allies with otherworldly vigour.
Encounter
Minor Action Close burst 3
Effect: Up to three allies other than you within burst gain +2 bonus to their next damage roll, and gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution or Charisma modifier. Increase the bonus to +4 at level 11st and to +6 at level 21st.
Special: When you create your character, choose Constitution, or Charisma as the ability score you use for granting temporary hit points. This choice remains throughout your character’s life and does not change the power’s other effects.


Battle Scales
Encounter
Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: An enemy scores a critical hit against you
Effect: Turn the hit into a normal hit, and take only half-damage


Tail Sting
Encounter
Minor Action Melee attack
Attack: Strength + 2, Constitution + 2, Dexterity + 2 vs Reflex
Hit: 1d6 + Strength modifier, and the target takes ongoing damage 5 (save ends)
Miss: The target takes Strength modifier damage.


The point of the previous racial powers is much like the drow's. The character can choose to use only one during a single encounter.

Thanks for all the help, Fireclave.
@Fireclave: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.:D
@Magus: did you read Fireclave's previous response? "Invigorating Howl" seems to keep most of the things that made power 2 overkill in the first place.

Battle scales seems okay compared to other racial powers.

The ongoing damage might be slightly over what it needs to be for Tail Sting. The damage is always at least 1d6+str+5 which seems a little higher than the usual ability. That's just my thoughts.

@Fireclave: this is a really great guide :D!!!! It'll be really useful. Maybe WoTC could use it .

@Crimson: Edit: Removed for stupidity.
@Crimson: In the CB (I assume that it was also changed in part of the errata somewhere) WoTC has actually changed the Half-orc racial power to





No. That's the way it is in the PHB2. It's fine.
The racial power is not the object of my hate. Swift Charge is.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
oh.... okay that makes more sense.
@Magus: did you read Fireclave's previous response? "Invigorating Howl" seems to keep most of the things that made power 2 overkill in the first place.

Battle scales seems okay compared to other racial powers.

The ongoing damage might be slightly over what it needs to be for Tail Sting. The damage is always at least 1d6+str+5 which seems a little higher than the usual ability. That's just my thoughts.

I read it, and if you read well, I changed it a bit. I reduced it's area of effect, and as Fireclave suggested, I limited the number of allies, and excluded the user as well as a target.

And yes, the damage of Tail Sting is higher than a Dragon Breath, but this power only targets one enemy.

I wonder why Crimson hasn't said anything lately... Maybe he's bored of so many questions... Shame, his opinion is quite good.
I wonder why Crimson hasn't said anything lately...

Sorry, I've been less active in general recently because I've been so ****** off at a few other threads that have popped up where people keep chanting that it's okay for DMs to treat their players like dirt because obviously DMs are infallible and players should bow to their every desire because the DM's fun is more important than everybody else's.
. . . But other than that, my time has also been taken up by a couple of my own homebrew projects, which I should be posting around here shortly.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!