Simplified Races (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: July 2, 2010
Status: Still need more traits
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Simplified Races[edit]

As it is, certain races are forcibly shoehorned into different roles due to a number of different circumstances. Some examples of these include halflings, which rarely become barbarians or fighter, half-orcs who rarely become sorcerers or wizards, and other races that all fill a specific niche and thus come out in cookie-cutter copies one after another. One of the big things that influence the race that one takes according to one's race is subject to ability bonuses and penalties that the race gets. Instead of those, we sweep the table clean and have abilities that are flavorful for specific races, allowing them to be unique without necessarily shoehorning them into a specific class or role.

Note that this variant invalidates certain rules inherent in D&D 3.5 such as racial HD and LA, eliminating them in favor of the three abilities that each race gets down below.

How it Works[edit]

Each race possesses three iconic abilities which define it and what it can do; a combat ability, a passive ability, and a utility ability. Specific minor class traits can be by races, though obvious things are replaced, and ability scores are removed from races. Rather than via ability scores that shoehorn them into a specific class, races are instead defined by abilities that speak for themselves in their actions.

Any spell-like abilities or ranges listed have an effective caster level equal to the character's HD.

An exception to the three iconic abilities is any race that's small. These also get the following modifier to their character:

Small[edit]
  • Gain a +1 bonus to Hide, Move Silently, and Escape Artist checks.
  • Take a -1 penalty when initiating or defending against the Bull Rush special attack.

Races[edit]

Aasimar[edit]

Combat Ability - Wrath of the Gods: Once per encounter as an immediate action when an ally (not including yourself) is damaged by an enemy within medium range, you may force that enemy to make a Reflex save (DC 11 + your HD) or take 1d6 electricity damage. For every two HD you possess over your first the damage is increased by 1d6 (2d6 at 3 HD, 3d6 at 5 HD, and so on).
Passive Ability - Eyes of the Celestial: You are immune to being dazzled or blinded.
Utility Ability - Light: You may cast light once per minute as a spell-like ability. If you use this again before the duration of the first light has ended, the first light winks out of existence.

Catfolk[edit]

Combat Ability - Surprising Pounce: If you charge on the first round of combat you may make a full attack rather than a single attack.
Passive Ability - Agility: You are considered to have a number of ranks in the climb and jump skills equal to your HD + 3.
Utility Ability - Sudden Spring: Once per encounter as a swift action you may make a jump check to travel a number of feet equal to the check, rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5.

Centaur[edit]

Combat Ability - Galloping Sprint: Once per encounter you may add 20' to your base speed as a swift action. This boost lasts until the end of your turn.
Passive Ability - Quadruped: You have four legs, and gain all the bonuses that come with them (increased carrying capacity and a +4 bonus against being tripped and the like).
Utility Ability - Saddleborn: You are always considered mounted for all effects and purposes, when it would be beneficial for you and count as having the mounted combat feat for the purposes of prerequisites.

Desmodu[edit]

Combat Ability - Sonic Screech: Once per encounter as an immediate action you may screech at an enemy within 60'. The target must make a Fortitude save (DC 11 + your HD) or become deafened for 1d6 rounds.
Passive Ability - Echolocation: At first level, while not deafened or in an area of magical silence, the desmodu may constantly let out a low screech, reverberating his voice around himself to identify threats and terrain. Starting or ending this ability is a swift action, which grants the desmodu blindsense out to 5'. While this ability is active, the desmodu takes a -4 penalty to Move Silently checks. At 4th level and every 4 levels afterwards (8, 12, 16), the range of this ability increases by 5' up to a maximum of 30' at level 20. At 8th level this ability becomes stronger, granting blindsight out to half the range of the blindsense (starting at 5' at level 8, becoming 10' at level 12, and reaching a maximum of 15' at level 20).
Utility Ability - Wings of the Bat: You gain wings which you may use 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 descend 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. When you reach 9 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.

Doppelganger[edit]

Combat Ability - Horrifying Visage: You change your form into something strange and horrible to behold. Once per encounter as a swift action you may demoralize a foe, though the result does not stack with other fear effects.
Passive Ability - Forgettable: Your knack for changing forms and personalities is apparent to any who try to track you through the urban jungle. Any attempt to use gather information to learn about you takes a -10 penalty to the check.
Utility Ability - Shapeshift: By concentrating for three rounds you may mold your features to a different form, allowing you to make minor adjustments to yourself by making a disguise check (though no disguise kit is required). This functions as the disguise self spell, except that it is an extraordinary ability that does not provoke a Will save if interacted with. True Seeing and similar spells reveal the true form of the doppelganger.

Drow[edit]

Combat Ability - Hidden Poison: Once per encounter you can apply poison to a weapon as a move action, rather than a standard one.
Passive Ability - Spell Resistant: You gain Spell Resistance equal to your HD + 5.
Utility Ability - Darkness: Once per minute as a swift action you may fill your square and all adjacent squares with magical darkness that you can see normally through. This darkness lasts one round.

Duergar[edit]

Combat Ability - Expansion: Once per encounter as a swift action you may cast enlarge person on yourself; this is a spell-like ability that provokes no attacks of opportunity, and lasts for a single round.
Passive Ability - Stability: Reduce your base speed by 1/3, you take no penalty to movement from heavy armor or encumberance, and you gain a +4 bonus against effects that would move you such as trips or bull rushes.
Utility Ability - Invisibility: Once per minute as a swift action you may cast invisibility on yourself; this is a spell-like ability that provokes no attacks of opportunity, and lasts for a single round.

Dwarf[edit]

Combat Ability - Dwarvish Resilience: Once per encounter as a non-action upon being dealt damage by an enemy's attack or effect you may reduce the damage taken by a number equal to 3 + your HD.
Passive Ability - Stability: Reduce your base speed by 1/3, you take no penalty to movement from heavy armor or encumberance, and you gain a +4 bonus against effects that would move you such as trips or bull rushes.
Utility Ability - Stubborn: Once per encounter as a non-action you may reroll a saving throw twice, taking the highest result.

Elf[edit]

Combat Ability - Elvish Precision: Once per encounter as a non-action, you may reroll an attack roll you just made, or force an opponent targeted by an effect originating from you to reroll a saving throw they just made.
Passive Ability - Keen Senses: If you are not suprised at the start of combat, none of the rest of your allies are and may act normally even in surprise rounds.
Utility Ability - Agile Grace: You ignore the first square of difficult terrain you enter per round.

Genasi, Air[edit]

Combat Ability - Thundershock: Once per encounter when dealing electricity damage (such as with an Lightning Bolt or when attacking with a Shocking weapon) you may add +1d6 electricity damage to the damage you deal. This damage increases by 1d6 every two HD past your first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level seven, and so on).
Passive Ability - Light as Air: You are constantly under the effect of the feather fall spell.
Utility Ability - Hear the Wind: Once per encounter as a swift action you may pause to listen to the wind bouncing off objects. For one round you gain Blindsense out to 5', increasing by another 5' for every 5 HD you possess (10' at five HD, 15' at ten HD, 20' at fifteen HD, and so on).

Genasi, Earth[edit]

Combat Ability - Corrosive Shock: Once per encounter when dealing acid damage (such as with an Acid Splash or when attacking with a Corrosive weapon) you may add +1d6 acid damage to the damage you deal. This damage increases by 1d6 every two HD past your first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level seven, and so on).
Passive Ability - Stability: Reduce your base speed by 1/3, you take no penalty to movement from heavy armor or encumberance, and you gain a +4 bonus against effects that would move you such as trips or bull rushes.
Utility Ability - Stone Grip: Once per minute you can call upon the earth to seize a target within medium range. That creature must make a Reflex save (DC 11 + your HD) or be immobilized for one round.

Genasi, Fire[edit]

Combat Ability - Fire Shock: Once per encounter when dealing fire damage (such as with a Fireball or when attacking with a Flaming weapon) you may add +1d6 fire damage to the damage you deal. This damage increases by 1d6 every two HD past your first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level seven, and so on).
Passive Ability - Fear no Flames: You have 5 fire resistance.
Utility Ability - Burning Finger: You may create a small, yet fierce flame from your finger. At will, you may make a melee touch attack as a standard action that deals 1d3 fire damage. This damage ignores hardness and fire resistance equal to twice your HD and deals full damage to objects, rather than half.

Genasi, Water[edit]

Combat Ability - Frostshock: Once per encounter when dealing cold damage (such as with a Cone of Cold or when attacking with a Frost weapon) you may add +1d6 cold damage to the damage you deal. This damage increases by 1d6 every two HD past your first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level seven, and so on).
Passive Ability - Waterborn: You can breathe water as easily as you do air, and have a swim speed of 20'.
Utility Ability - Raise Mist: Once per minute as a swift action you may cast obscuring mist; this is a spell-like ability that provokes no attacks of opportunity, and lasts for one round.

Gnome (Small)[edit]

Combat Ability - Infuse Energy: Once per encounter as a swift action increase the DC of your next ability by two. This lasts until used or until one round passes, whichever happens first.
Passive Ability - Natural Alchemist: You are considered to have a number of ranks in the craft (alchemy) skills equal to your HD + 3, and do not need a laboratory to craft alchemical substances.
Utility Ability - At Hand: You may invest up to 50 gold in miscellaneous items while in a town; at any point you may rummage through your pack or clothes as a full-round action to produce any mundane item that could be afforded with this pool of gold, deducting the cost from the pool.

Goblin (Small)[edit]

Combat Ability - Sneaky Ambush: On the first round of combat any time you deal damage, you deal an extra 1d6 damage. This damage increases by 1d6 for every 2 HD you possess past the first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level 7, and so on).
Passive Ability - The Horde: As long as you have two allies who threaten an enemy and you are flanking that enemy with at least one, increase the bonus to attack from flanking to +3 (rather than the normal +2).
Utility Ability - Cowardly Retreat: Once per encounter you may take a swift action before moving to provoke no attack of opportunity from opponents threatening your current square.

Goliath[edit]

Combat Ability - Rocky Hide: Once per encounter as an immediate action the next time you take damage this round that damage is reduced by a number equal to your HD.
Passive Ability - Powerful Build: You are considered one size larger for all effects and abilities when it would be advantageous to you.
Utility Ability - Mountain Leaper: You are always considered running for the purposes of jump checks.

Ghoul[edit]

Combat Ability - Feed: As a standard action, you can feed on a dead body (must have died within 8 hours), which provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. Upon completion, you heal 2 HP per CR of the body in life, up to your full normal HP. Any HP over that limit are instead gained as temporary HP, up to a maximum of twice your level, which last for one hour. As normal, multiple temporary hit point applications do not stack; only the newest application applies. You may use this ability as often as you like, provided you have fresh corpses on which to feed. As a secondary benefit, a ghoul cannot contract disease from eating rotting meat.
Passive Ability - Graveborn: You gain a +4 bonus on saves against death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects, poison, and stunning.
Utility Ability - Sneakiness: You are considered to have a number of ranks in the Hide and Move Silently skills equal to your HD + 3.

Half-Elf[edit]

Combat Ability - Persuasive: Once per minute you may cast command (DC 11 + your HD) as a spell-like ability. Should your target fail the save, this effect lasts for only a single round.
Passive Ability - Grace: Choose diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate. You are considered to have a number of ranks in the chosen skill equal to your HD + 3.
Utility Ability - Two Worlds in One: Once per encounter upon being dealt damage by an enemy's attack or effect you may take an immediate action to move up to one-half your base speed.

Half-Giant[edit]

Combat Ability - Stomp: Once per encounter, you may stomp the ground as a move action; all creatures within 10' of you who are touching the ground must make a Reflex save (DC 11 + your HD) or fall prone.
Passive Ability - Powerful Build: You are considered one size larger for all effects and abilities when it would be advantageous to you.
Utility Ability - Rock Throw: You are always considered proficient with rocks as a thrown weapon, and once per encounter may throw a large nearby rock at an enemy as a standard action to bowl them over. That foe must make a Reflex save (DC 11 + your HD) or fall prone.

Half-Orc[edit]

Combat Ability - Burning Rage: Once per encounter as a swift action, any time you deal damage, increase the amount of damage dealt by a number equal to your HD. This effect applies only once per attack or action, and lasts until the end of your turn. (For example, if using this with Magic Missile, only a single missile would gain the bonus damage, but a Fireball would deal the extra damage to every creature targeted. On the other hand, a creature with multiple attacks would be able to add it to every attack that round if the first one hit.)
Passive Ability - Furious Charge: When running or charging, your speed increases by 10'.
Utility Ability - Two Worlds in One: Once per encounter upon being dealt damage by an enemy's attack or effect you may take an immediate action to move up to one-half your base speed.

Halfling (Small)[edit]

Combat Ability - Artful Dodger: Once per encounter as a non-action, you may have an opponent reroll an attack roll they just made that targeted you, or reroll a saving throw you just made.
Passive Ability - Sneaky-sneak: You may reroll a Hide or Move Silently check you just made at a -5 penalty. You must take the second result regardless of its outcome.
Utility Ability - Hide in Plain Sight: You can use the hide skill even while being observed, though you still need some sort of cover or concealment as the standard skill dictates. Hide is always a class skill for you.

Halfling, Jerren (Small)[edit]

Combat Ability - Murderous Stab: Once per encounter upon dealing damage to a foe who is denied their dexterity to AC against an attack, you may add 1d6 damage to the damage you would deal. This increases by 1d6 at third level and every odd level afterwards.
Passive Ability: Sneaky-sneak - You may reroll a Hide or Move Silently check you just made at a -5 penalty. You must take the second result regardless of its outcome.
Utility Ability - Hide in Plain Sight: You can use the hide skill even while being observed, though you still need some sort of cover or concealment as the standard skill dictates. Hide is always a class skill for you.

Human[edit]

Combat Ability - Bonus Feat: Once per day as a swift action you may gain a bonus feat for one minute. This feat must have all of its prerequisites fulfilled as normal.
Passive Ability - Skillfull: You gain four extra skill points at first level, and one extra for every level afterwards.
Utility Ability - Talented: Choose one skill that is not Use Magic Device. This skill is always a class skill for you regardless of what your class is.

Kobold (Small)[edit]

Combat Ability - Set Trap: You may throw a trap that lasts three rounds into an unoccupied square within close range as a swift action. This is triggered by the first creature who moves into the square containing the trap, who takes 1d6 damage with a Reflex save for half (DC 11 + your HD). This damage increases by 1d6 for every 2 HD you possess past the first (+2d6 at level three, +3d6 at level five, +4d6 at level 7, and so on). Should you place it in an adjacent square, enemies are unaware of it unless they successfully oppose your Sleight of Hand check with a Spot check.
Passive Ability - Trapfinder: You gain trapfinding and you have a number of effective ranks in Search equal to your HD + 3 for the purpose of finding traps.
Utility Ability - Blood of the Dragon: Choose a 0-level sorcerer or wizard spell. You may cast that spell once per minute as a spell-like ability.

Mercurian[edit]

Combat Ability - Combat Arm: You may change one of your limbs (usually an arm) into a weapon. Mechanically, this works as though you used call weaponry (summoning a light or one-handed simple or melee weapon with which you are proficient of your size) and immediately using graft weapon on it. You still gain the competence bonus to damage when using this, though not to attack. The duration of this is permanent, and activating it is a supernatural ability. You may end the duration, turning your arm to normal and making the weapon disappear with another standard action.
Passive Ability - Fluid Form: You can change your shape to become thin and wriggly, allowing you to move through the smallest of spaces as a move action. Using this duplicates ectoplasmic form except for the following exceptions:
  • You are treated as though you were tiny for the purpose of hiding and occupying space.
  • You can run, but cannot fly.
  • You may attack physically, but only with a single slam attack (1d6 damage for medium creatures).
  • You gain a +20 bonus to Escape Artist checks and can move through a hole as small as 1/2" in diameter.
  • You may enter water and are not affected by normal winds.
  • Your base speed increases by 10' for mundane movement (not burrowing or flying).
  • All of your equipment and items you were holding drops to the ground where you were standing.
  • You lose all supernatural abilities as well as your shapeshift utility power, except for the ability turn back into your normal form.
Utility Ability - Shapeshift: By concentrating for three rounds you may mold your features to a different form, allowing you to make minor adjustments to yourself by making a disguise check (though no disguise kit is required). This functions as the disguise self spell, except that it is an extraordinary ability that does not provoke a Will save if interacted with. True Seeing and similar spells reveal the true form of the mercurian.

Orc[edit]

Combat Ability - Burning Rage: Once per encounter as a swift action, any time you deal damage, increase the amount of damage dealt by a number equal to your HD. This effect applies only once per attack or action, and lasts until the end of your turn. (For example, if using this with Magic Missile, only a single missile would gain the bonus damage, but a Fireball would deal the extra damage to every creature targeted. On the other hand, a creature with multiple attacks would be able to add it to every attack that round if the first one hit.)
Passive Ability - Intimidating Demeanor: You are considered to have a number of ranks in Intimidate equal to your HD + 3.
Utility Ability - War Cry: Once per minute you can demoralize a foe as a swift action.

Shifter[edit]

Combat Ability - Shift: Once per day you may call upon your heritage to gain a short burst to physical ability. The only traits you may choose are one of Cliffwalk, Dreamsight, Gorebrute, Longstride, Longtooth, Razorclaw, Truedive, and Wildhunt, chosen at character creation. See the Eberron campaign setting and Races of Eberron for more information.
Passive Ability - Nature's Sense: You can sense and track creatures by smell, as per the scent ability.
Utility Ability - Luna's Protection: Once per encounter you may call upon the moon's protection as an immediate action to grant you DR 1/Silver until the start of your next turn. The DR increases by one for every two HD you possess beyond the first (DR 2/Silver at level three, DR 3/Silver at level five, DR 4/Silver at level seven, and so on).

Siren[edit]

Combat Ability - Drown: Once per encounter as a swift action, you may fill an adjacent creature's lungs with water unless they make a Fortitude save (DC 11 + your HD). On a failed save, the creature immediately begins suffocating unless they take a move action to clear the water from their lungs.
Passive Ability - Waterborn: You can breathe water as easily as you do air, and have a swim speed of 20'.
Utility Ability - Siren Song: Once per minute as a swift action, you may have a target within close range make a Will save (DC 11 + your HD) or be unable to take any movement which would put it farther from you than it currently is for one round.

Tiefling[edit]

Combat Ability - Fiery Vengeance: Once per encounter as an immediate action upon being damaged by an opponent within medium range, you may have that opponent make a Reflex save (DC 11 + HD) or take 1d6 fire damage. This damage is increased by 1d6 for every two levels beyond one that you possess (2d6 at 3 HD, 3d6 at 5 HD, and so on).
Passive Ability - Fiendish Vision: You can see through magical darkness as though it wasn't there.
Utility Ability - Darkness: Once per minute as a swift action you may cast darkness; this is a spell-like ability that provokes no attacks of opportunity, and lasts for two rounds.

Troglodyte[edit]

Combat Ability - Musk: You release a pungent stench in the thick of combat, forcing any enemies within your natural melee reach to make a Fortitude save (DC 11+ HD) each round that they are in the area of effect or be sickened for that round. A successful save renders them immune to the effect for 24 hours.
Passive Ability - Amphibious: You breathe underwater as easily as you do in air and have a swim speed of 20 feet.
Utility Ability - Natural Camouflage: When wielding no weapons, wearing no equipment, carrying nothing and in natural terrain, you do not require concealment or cover in order to hide.

Warforged[edit]

Combat Ability - Living Construct: You gain the living construct subtype. See the Eberron campaign setting for more information.
Passive Ability - Armored Construct: You have a 25% chance of ignoring critical hits and precision-based damage, as per Light Fortification.
Utility Ability - Composite Plating: The natural material from which you were made gives you natural protection. See the Eberron campaign setting for more information.

Special: Warforged can not be changed by the templates below.

Templates[edit]

Templates are gained from birth, or are acquired during a PC's life through special rites or quests. You may only have one template, and when you take it you may only choose only a single ability which replaces your corresponding ability of the same type.

Daywalker[edit]

Combat Ability - Blood Siphon: Once per encounter as a swift action make a melee attack against an enemy; on a successful hit, that enemy takes one point of damage for every level you have, and you heal for the same amount. This ability is expended regardless of whether you hit or not. Note that if using the healing surge variant that the healing from this ability can not allow you to activate a healing surge.
Passive Ability - Vampiric Toughness: When below 1 HP you gain Fast Healing at a rate equal to one-third your character level (minimum one).
Utility Ability - Mist Form: Once per encounter as a swift action you can turn into mist for one round.

Dragonborn[edit]

Combat Ability - Heart of the Dragon: Once per encounter as a standard action you may breath a 60' line or 30' cone of fire that deals 1d6 damage (Reflex save for half, DC 11 + HD). For every two levels beyond one that you possess, the damage increases by 1d6 (2d6 at 3 HD, 3d6 at 5 HD, and so on).
Passive Ability - Mind of the Dragon: You gain low-light vision that lets you see four times as far as a human would in shadowy illumination, as well as 120' darkvision.
Utility Ability - Wings of the Dragon: You gains wings which you may use 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. When you reach 9 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.

Lycanthrope[edit]

Utility Ability - Animal Form: Choose a small or medium mammal that does not have the innate ability to fly of the animal type with 3 HD or less. You may turn into that animal at will as a standard action, as per alternate form.



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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (341 Articles)
Ghostwheelv
AuthorGhostwheel +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
Rated ByRiverOffers +, BackHandOfFate +, DanielDraco +, Havvy +, ThunderGod Cid +, MisterSinister +, Aarnott +, Fluffykittens +, Foxwarrior + and Surgo +
RatingRated 3.6 / 4 +
TitleSimplified Races +