Thursday, February 12, 2015

Converting My Campaign To D&D 5E: Character Races Allowed

Fortunately for me, the standard races in the Player's Handbook align fairly closely to what we have been using.  For the most part I will be able to transition without much fuss.  Of the nine 'races' in the book, I only consider six of them to be races with large groups, geographic homes and culture.  Dragon Born, Half-orcs, and Tieflings are playable 'races' but are rare offspring who must live within the other existing cultures.


The world is Human-centric, that is the Human civilization is where the play is focused and the Humans are the majority.  That is not to say that character to character Humans are superior, they are not.  It is just in this time in history the Human civilization is on the rise, and the other races play important parts but are not the central focus.

I would allow a player to use the variant Human trait.  I do not see exchanging four ability point increases for a skill proficiency and a feat as unbalancing.


There were no Dwarven sub-races in the world, but having Hill and Mountain Dwarves will fit nicely with the different geographic cultures I did already have.


Gray and Sylvan (Grugach) elves existed in the campaign, so High and Wood elves stats work fine and I will keep my names.  Drow are in the game but not offered as playable races.  (nobody in the group read any Drizzt books, thank the Lords of Literature).  We never played 4E in this world, so I have no Eladrin stuff to worry about.

Oh, and Elves have pupils in my world.  None of this pool of color stuff for me.


The Haflings are my gypsy sort of race, living in small communities near other races or as groups of nomads.  There were no sub-races, but I do not see the harm in allowing that.  I will be letting the Lightfoot and Stout groups live together in those groups and perhaps have some friendly and less than friendly bias between the two.

Dragonblood (Dragonborn)

Dragonborn are the race with which I have the most trouble.  It just does not fit in my campaign history, and world.  There were some very rare individuals wandering around who had dragon blood mixed in their DNA, and I have decided these will be my 'dragonborn'.  I can use most of the stats as is, but I am not sure I am going to keep the breath weapon.  I might keep it as one option and create some others.  Since I have no Dragonblood player characters at the moment I have some breathing room to finalize it.

For now I am going with the following; mechanically, Dragonblood are the same in the Players Handbook with the following exceptions:
  • Age: Dragonblood grow to maturity like the race they are part of, but can live up to twice as long
  • Size: Dragonblood are the same size as the race they are part of.
Descriptively, Dragonblood in my campaign are those who have dragon blood in their veins from a mating with a dragon at some time in their lineage. With enough time, the dragon blood might thin out and a Dragonblood parent might have a human child. How many generations is unclear, and may have to do with the potency of the dragon parent.

All Dragonblood have slightly elongated faces, though that is not necessarily a sign someone is Dragonblood. The colors of Dragonblood pupils are the color of the parent dragon type, and their hair has a tint of the same color. Skin tones run the range of human tones.

Of course, if a Dragonblood used a breath weapon, that would be a bit of a give away.


Gnomes are fine, we always had them as a playable race.  Again, we never did 4E, so we never 'lost' them.  I always envision them as chubby or stout, more like in 1E, but I am happy to let players decide if they want to be a Gnome.

Half Elf

Half elves sort of function as geographic location races, and with one off children.  I do not see a problem with stats as provided, and see no need to differentiate if the elven parent was Gray (High) or Sylvan (Wood).  Because my Sylvan elves tend towards xenophobia, there would not be very many Sylvan/Human mixes.


As presented, the Half-orc works fine for my campaign.  There are no communities of Half-orcs, you find a place to live as best you can fit in or not.


Mechanically, a Tiefling will be the same as in the Players Handbook.  Descriptively, as presented in the book they do not fit at all.  So instead, we will use the following.

Descriptively, Tieflings in the campaign are those who have devil blood in their veins from a mating with a devil at some time in their lineage. With enough time, the devil blood might thin out and a Tiefling parent might have a human child. How many generations is unclear, and may have to do with the potency of the devil parent.

All Teiflings have horns, but the size and shape can vary tremendously. All Teiflings have tails, again the size, thickness, length and other attributes of that tail can vary tremendously. Their teeth tend towards being extra sharp, and the colors of their pupils can be black, red, white, silver or gold. Skin tones can run the range of human tones plus red, however the colors tend to be more extreme. (darker darks, paler pales, etc). Tiefling hair is always dark, but the colors range from blacks, browns, red, blue or purple.

Even if a Tiefling looks almost human, there is always something different or unsettling about them around normal humans.

That is it for now.  The dice never lie.

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