A character’s race comes with a lot of elements that can fluff a character design and really help make it feel complete. From the character’s description to the culture they grew up around, the character’s race can be a keystone for role-playing opportunities.
What the Zer0Forge system does differently with races than the core 5e system is removing the bonuses to a character’s ability score that get assigned to a stat, restricting certain races to specific types of classes. The ability score bonuses and languages are now handled in a character’s background instead, as these should come from experiences in life, not the circumstances of a character’s birth.
Creating a Race
DescriptionThis part is all fluff with little to no rule implications. From the height range a member of the race may be to hair and eye color, fantastical skin tones and more. The only limit to the description you give your races is your imagination.
FeaturesIf the race has any inherent abilities that are passed on generation to generation, those are the features a character could gain. These features are not things which are better covered in backgrounds (like proficiencies in skills), but other abilities like dark-vision, natural spell-like abilities or immunities. Some of the abilities, like breath weapons, may even grow with the character as they adventure, though these should be limited to not overshadow your class features.
There are no limits to how few or how many features a race has except any expressed by the DM, but no one race should have such an overwhelming advantage that it’s pointless to play any others.
While some races are generally classified as small creatures in game terms, thus every character of that race would be in the “small” size category while every other race is typically medium, there are exceptions. As there are conditions that cause the height of people to vastly differ it is possible for a member of a race that is normally medium to be a small creature. Likewise, it is possible for a race that’s normally in the small category to have those that are medium. As there aren’t many rules that change based on a character’s size category between small and medium, there is no additional balancing needed to allow this as long as you limit a character’s size category to either small or medium.
Characters with multiple heritages
Filling your world with 50 separate unique races may seem diverse, but it instills a sense that each species stays segregated from the others. You can get the full feeling of a diverse world that’s coexisted for centuries by allowing races with multiple heritages into your campaign without any change to the rules or editing existing races.
In a world that has just the classic fantasy races of Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Humans and Orcs and allow for a cross between any two, you now have 5 races with 15 possible ancestries that flavor your world and make it feel lived in aside from the player’s antics. You get even more possibilities if there’s more cross over further back in a character’s heritage.
To make this work without having to come up with a whole new custom race is just have the player pick which race presents the most and choose their feature from there, then let them describe their character with any description details from either. Characters and NPCs with multiple heritages help make the world feel like it’s been lived in before the start of any campaign instead of creating settlements of NPCs with a single heritage as if they’ve never seen or interacted with the rich variety of other fantastical races in the world.
Art, graphic and media consultation, Session Zer0 hopes to be a source of tolerance and inclusion, working with clients to expand on diverse representation in the gaming industry as a whole.