[RPG] Is this homebrew monkey race overpowered


The hozu are a race of humanoid monkeys who live in dense forests and jungles of high elevation. They're a resourceful and cunning folk who lack a concept of fair play and have developed ways and techniques of dirty fighting. They live in large family groups, ruled over by a war leader and a great sage.

This is a very rough first draft. The abilities are meant to convey their tricky, dirty fighting and they're suppose to be good monks. I know there probably are some balance concerns, but I hope some of you will be able to specifically pinpoint them.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and either your Strength or Wisdom scores increase by 1.
  • Size. Hozu stand between 5 and 6 feet. Your size is medium.
  • Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Creature Type. Your creature type is humanoid.
  • Nimble Dodge. If a melee attack misses you, you can immediately move 5 feet in any direction that isn't blocked as a reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
  • Monkey Grip. You can use Dexterity in place of Strength for any checks made to shove or grapple.
  • Tricky Fist. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage and can use Dexterity for both attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • Trip and Bash. Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can Shove that creature as part of the attack. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
  • Agile Climber. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed.
  • Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Simian.

Is this homebrew race overpowered?

Best Answer

It looks balanced but you should test it on a monk

I normally would use the Detect Balance sheet to score this. John Doe already did that, and it looks balanced on the surface.

However, there is one issue with point-buy scoring systems like Detect Balance: they tend to break down if there is strong synergy between multiple features. The flat scores cannot capture these interactions. Of course, finding synergies is half of the fun of building characters (or Magic: the Gathering decks, if you are into that - where combo decks demonstrate how individually innocous elements can combine to create something that can be game-breaking).

All the "special" features in this build already work very well together. You can use Dex for unarmed melee, shoves and grapples, you get extra mobility with Nimble Dodge on such melee, and you get free Shove actions on hits. They make for a nice pseudo-monk. The free shove action, which normally would cost you a full separate action looks like the strongest element, and having it gated by proficiency bonus uses helps.

The real question is how this will work on a monk. For example, the Nimble Escape helps to conserve Ki when you do not need to Step of the Wind to Disengage from an enemy to move away. As you pointed out, you can use Trip and Bash in combo with the monk's unarmed attacks. Shoving them also gets you out of close range or can be used to drop your opponent prone, a strong effect if used with Flurry of Blows where all the additional attacks then happen with advantage while he is down.

I think this is still fine, but it's these kinds of sublte advantages piling upon each other that can become dangerous, and I would recommend to test this, and be ready to nerf it, in case it turns out too strong. (In particular, if you want to make this available to players, discuss this is experimental and have the player understand there may be some correction later on if they pick it and it turns out unbalancing.)

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