Original Race Rebuilding (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: February 27, 2010
Status: Still need more traits
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Original Race Rebuilding[edit]

Concept[edit]

Players often choose their race not because they want to play a certain concept, or because the specific race appeals to them, but because they want all the bonuses that the races grant. Instead of forcing them to choose mechanics over flavor, this revision of the rules takes a closer look at the game design aspect of races and notices that flavor is not always tied to mechanics; after all, look at how different the half-elf is compared to humans, gnomes from halflings. There's not actually much that differentiates the two. Instead of going for the race that gives you the biggest bonuses, under this variant rule one can play whatever race one chooses--and chooses mechanics that fit the needs, rather than the other way around.

Each character has ten "trait slots" to fill, and different traits cost a different number of trait slots. In this way, races are not only balanced, but a player can also choose whatever traits exemplify their race best. Unless it says so specifically, one may only take a given trait once. Characters begin as Humanoids with a base speed of 30' and no racial abilities with whatever subtype they want, though no subtype grants any mechanical bonuses--for example, even if one were to take the Aquatic subtype, one would not be able to breathe underwater.

Traits[edit]

Adaptable[edit]

Trait slots: 6
Benefit: Gain a bonus feat.

Aggressive[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: Gain a +1 bonus to initiative.
Special: This trait may be taken a second time to increase the initiative bonus by an additional one.

Amphibious[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: You may hold your breath for up to a number of rounds equal to eight times you Constitution modifier before you risk suffocating or drowning.
Special: You may instead take this trait a second time to be able to breathe underwater as easily as on land.

Armor Training[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Your speed is not decreased when you wear medium or heavy armor.

Charismatic[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Charisma and -2 to Intelligence.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Climber[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: You gain a climb speed equal to one-half your base speed.
Special: You may choose this trait a second time to make your climb speed equal to your base speed.

Dextrous[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Dexterity and -2 to Constitution.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Durable[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: Gain +2 to saves against Poisons and Diseases.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of two trait slots to increase the bonus by an additional two. If taken at the cost of four trait slots, you gain immunity to all nonmagical poisons and diseases.

Fearless[edit]

Trait Slots: 1
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to saves against Fear effects.
Special: This trait can be taken one more time to double the bonus against Fear effects. If taken three times, you become immune to Fear effects.

Hatred[edit]

Trait Slots: 2
Benefit: Choose a creature type, and subtype if suitable. You gain +1 to attack creatures of that type and a +4 Dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by creatures of that type.

Infravision[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: You gain low-light vision.
Special: This trait can be taken one more time to grant Darkvision out to 60'.

Intelligent[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Intelligence and -2 to Strength.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Large[edit]

Trait slots: 8
Benefit: Your size increases to Large. Apart from your size modifier changing for things such as attack, AC, hide, special attacks, and so on, as well as change to your reach and similar changes, you do not get any bonuses to ability scores from your increased size.
Special: You may not choose both this trait and Small.

Lucky[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: You gain +1 to all saves.

Magic Resistance[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: Choose a school of magic. You gain a +2 bonus to saves against spells from this school.
Special: This trait may be taken multiple times. Each time, choose a different school of magic.

Magic Training[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Benefit: Choose a school of magic. The DCs of your spells for that school are increased by one.
Special: This trait may be taken multiple times. Each time, choose a different school of magic.

Magical[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: Choose three cantrips; you may use each one once per day.
Special: If you choose this trait again, you may instead use each three times per day.

Nimble[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: You gain a +1 Dodge bonus to AC.

Otherworldly[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: Rather than Humanoid, your Type becomes Fey, Giant, or Magical Beast.
Special: If you choose this trait twice, your Type instead becomes Aberration, Magical Beast, or Monstrous Humanoid. If you choose this trait three times, you instead gain the Living Construct type. Choosing this trait four times instead gives you the Dragon or Outsider type (with whatever type and subtype they want, though they do not gain the bonuses inherent to their selected subtype). Taken five times, you instead become a Construct, Elemental, Plant, or Undead. Discuss with the DM your change in appearance based upon your new type.

Perceptive[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
Special: If you choose this trait again, you may also automatically make a Search check (the DM rolls secretly) whenever you pass within 5' of a door.

Polyglot[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: Choose any three non-secret languages. These are added to your automatic languages known.

Powerful Build[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Benefit: Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), you are treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to you. You are also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature's special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect you. You can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, your space and reach remain those of a creature of your actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
Special: You may not choose both this trait and Slight Build.

Psionic[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: You are naturally psionic, and gain 2 PP. This trait in and of itself does not grant feats or the like
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to instead gain a single PP for every HD you possess.

Sensitive[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Benefit: You gain Blindsense out to 5'.

Skilled[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: Choose a skill; this skill becomes a class skill for you regardless of what class you take.
Special: You may choose this trait more than once, each time choosing a different skill. You may not use this to gain use magic device as a class skill.

Slight Build[edit]

Trait slots: 6
Benefit: Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as Hide), you are treated as one size smaller if doing so is advantageous to you. You are also considered to be one size smaller when "squeezing" through a restrictive space. You can use weapons designed for a creature one size smaller without penalty. However, your space and reach remain those of a creature of their actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject's size category.
Special: You may not choose both this trait and Powerful Build.

Sleepless[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: Where other races must sleep for eight hours, you only need to meditate for four hours and are completely aware of your surroundings as though awake during that time. You are also immune to sleep effects and abilities.
Special: You must still have eight hours of uninterrupted rest to regain spells, power points, and similar abilities.

Small[edit]

Trait slots: 5
Benefit: Your size decreases to Small. Apart from your size modifier changing for things such as attack, AC, hide, special attacks, and so on, you do not get any bonuses to ability scores from your decreased size. Your speed also decreases to 20'.
Special: You may not choose both this trait and Large.

Speedy[edit]

Trait slots: 5
Benefit: Your base speed increases by 10'.

Stonecunning[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: You gain a +2 racial bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isn’t stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. If you merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework, you can make a Search check as if you were actively searching, and you can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. You can also intuit depth, sensing your approximate depth underground as naturally as anyone else can sense which way is up.

Stability[edit]

Traits slots: 2
Benefit: Gain a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). This might be because of your natural stability, or due to having more than two legs.

Stout[edit]

Traits slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Constitution and -2 to Dexterity.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Strong[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Strength and -2 to Dexterity.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Talented[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Benefit: Gain +4 skill points at level one, and another one at every following level.

Tall[edit]

Trait slots: 7
Benefit: Your reach increases by 5' (and only 5', regardless of whether you wield a reach weapon or are a larger size).

Tough[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: You gain +1 HP for every HD you possess.

Weapon Familiarity[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Benefit: Choose a martial weapon. You are now proficient with that weapon.
Special: You may choose this trait more than once, each time choosing a different weapon. Otherwise, you may take this trait twice to gain proficiency with a single exotic weapon rather than two martial ones.

Webbed Feet[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Benefit: You gain a swim speed equal to one-half your base speed.
Special: You may choose this trait a second time to make your swim speed equal to your base speed.

Winged[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Benefit: You may use your wings to glide, negating falling damage from a fall of any height and allowing 30 feet of forward travel for every 5 feet of descent at your base speed with average maneuverability. Should you fall unconscious or helpless in midair, your wings naturally unfurl and powerful ligaments stiffen the wings. You descends in a tight corkscrew and take only 1d6 points of falling damage, no matter what the actual distance of the fall. Even if your maneuverability improves, you can not hover while gliding.
Special: This trait can be taken one more time to gain the following benefits:
When you reach 6 HD, you are able to fly at your base speed with average maneuverability for up to a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier, and can exert yourself for up to twice that time but are fatigued at the end of your flight, as well as after spending ten minutes per day of flying. Because you can glide before, after, and between rounds of actual flight, you can remain aloft for extended periods (even if you can only use flight for 1 round at a time without becoming fatigued).
When you reach 12 HD, you have no chance of becoming fatigued from flying.
Restriction: You may not glide or fly while carrying a medium or heavy load, and may not fly while fatigued or exhausted.

Wise[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Benefit: Gain +2 to Wisdom and -2 to Intelligence.
Special: You may instead take this trait at the cost of five trait slots to remove the associated penalty.

Drawbacks[edit]

Drawbacks can be taken to gain a number of trait slots; up to three drawbacks may be taken. (Taking a drawback more than once counts as another drawback taken for the purposes of the maximum number of drawback one can take.) Each drawback can only be taken once unless noted oetherwise.

Aquatic[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Penalty: You treat air as most land-bound creatures treat water; you are forced to hold your breath when out of water or begin suffocating. Spells that allow creatures to breathe underwater allow you to breathe in air.
Special: You may only take this drawback if you took the Amphibious trait twice.

Clumsy[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Reduce your AC by one.

Feeble[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Take a -1 penalty to Fortitude saves.

Frail[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Penalty: Your HP is reduced by one for every HD you possess.

Glory-Hound[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: You take a -2 penalty to AC and saves during combat until you have dropped an enemy. This penalty does not apply if you are in combat against only a single opponent.

Honest[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: You are constantly under the effect of a Zone of Truth spell, and must answer any question you hear in the most expedient and straightforward of ways. This effect cannot be suppressed or ended in any way.

Indecisive[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Penalty: You are nauseated during the first round of combat that you would normally be able to go on (or dazed if you would be limited to a single action during a surprise round). This is in effect even if you are normally immune to nauseated or have some way of removing it.
Special: This trait can be taken one more time; if so, you are stunned instead of nauseated.

Lethargic[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Take a -1 penalty to Reflex saves.

Light Blindness[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Penalty: Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds you for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, they are dazzled as long as they remain in the affected area.
Special: You may only take this drawback if you took the Infravision trait twice.

Meager[edit]

Trait slots: 4
Penalty: Reduce all of your ability scores by 2.

Protector[edit]

Trait slots: 2
Penalty: Your first attack during an encounter must target a creature that has damaged or inflicted a negative effect on you or an ally. Your first attack cannot knowingly target, attack, or include an enemy who has not filled this condition with any of your abilities.

Slow[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Your speed is reduced by 10'

Unbalanced[edit]

Trait slots: 3
Penalty: The first time you are hit in combat you fall prone.

Unreactive[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Take a -2 penalty to Initiative checks.

Unskilled[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: You gain 4 fewer skill points at first level and one less every level afterwards (minimum 0).

Weak-Willed[edit]

Trait slots: 1
Penalty: Take a -1 penalty to Will saves.



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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (373 Articles)
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AuthorGhostwheel +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
RatingUnrated +
TitleOriginal Race Rebuilding +