Saturday, June 20, 2009

Multi-Racing: Building Half-Breeds Part 1

Multi-classing has been an important facet of Dungeons and Dragons for many editions. Being able to build on two separate classes has always been popular and necessary (in my opinion) for fleshing out characters and making the most interesting character a player could want.

Biological laws not withstanding, there are numerous reasons why two different races may have merged together, I means its D&D, magic, experiments, fits of passion, etc. The reasons are endless and potentially provide for an entire character background based on why that character is the way he is. Who were his parents? Was he part of some crazy magical experiment? The list of background ideas goes on and on.

So, why not with races as well???

Looking at the races of Dungeons and Dragons which are available for play it stands to reason that there is nothing that should keep these numerous humanoid races from intermingling and spawning new half breed races which are both interesting and fun to play. The Half-Elf is an obvious precedent for this, not to mention the numerous half-breed races that existed in 3rd edition: Half-Dragons, Half-Celestial, Half-Orcs (now a 4e race), etc.

Why aren’t there rules for this yet?
Who knows… maybe they are on their way down the line, maybe they’ll be coming in one of the subsequent DMG’s or Player’s Handbooks. Maybe they won’t.

So here is my take on creating Half-Breed Races. This is simply a set of guidelines that I would use when building them based on the existing Half-Races which are currently in play.

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Racial Traits
Average Height: Average of the Two Parent Races
Average Weight: Average of the Two Parent Races

Ability Scores: Pick one bonus from each of the parent races, but you cannot pick the same ability twice. This allows for multiple different breeds of half-breeds. I.e. Some half-breeds pick one set of ability bonuses; some pick another.

Skill Bonuses: Pick one bonus from each parent race, but you cannot pick the same skill twice.

Size: The smallest of the two parent races. It stands to reason that a small creature giving birth would give birth to a small creature (well an appropriately sized baby, who knows how large Halfling babies are).

Speed: The average of the two. Speed should be rounded down just like all other cases of rounding in Dungeons and Dragons. Most of the times Speed will be 6.

Vision: The greater of the two parent races.
Languages: One from each of the parent races.
Racial Abilities: All half-breeds have dual heritage. This lets them take feats which would apply to either of their parent races. Then, they pick 2 racial abilities, one from each parent, but can only take one power based racial ability from either parent. Racial Abilities are chosen on a point buy system with all current racial abilities being evaluated on a scale of power. Racial Abilities are then “bought” from each of the parent races for a certain number of points. (This will be explained further in part 2 of this series).

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This concludes part 1 of my take on multi-racing. I’d appreciate comments on this work, if you think something should be changed, added, or deleted, give me a comment. I’m always looking for good advice. In part 2, I’ll provide more evaluation of the Racial Ability Point Buy system and see how it works in several of the pre-existing races. I’ll also provide the first of my homebrewed half-breed races, the Dwargon (Half-Dragonborn/ Half-Dwarf).

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