Wasted: Homebrew Review
18 June 2018
Tiger Anthrolupe (5e Race)
In this Homebrew Review, we take a look at the Tiger Anthrolupe, which was apparently created "for [the author's] personal enjoyment to play a crossbreed race". An auspicious start. Indeed, some quick research shows that this homebrew race is in fact an unholy union between two other homebrew races, the Anthrolupe and the Tigerfolk.
Also I would like you all to know that while I think I have successfully erased all instances of searching for "anthrolupe" from my browser and search history, I do not have the same function available to my brain. Warped algorithms aside, I would quite like to unsee what has been seen. Consider yourselves warned.
The obvious question, because the article never actually explains: what actually is an anthrolupe? The answer is not very surprising. Anthrolupes appear to be wolf-people. Not in the classic werewolf sense, though - they've very much anthropomorphised wolves that look humanoid and act like people. Opposable thumbs, bipedal, snout with lolling tongue, tail, the whole works.
Apparently lorewise they, too, were the result of crossbreeding between races. Now humans and elves I can understand, even humans and orcs, but I'm confused as to how wolves got into the mix.
Spoiler: I'm not confused. I'm just really trying to avoid discussing it.
Tigerfolk are basically the same thing, just substitute Tigers for Wolves. Sadly these aren't either Weretigers or the classic D&D Rakshasa with the backwards hands and the ridiculous spellcasting (probably just as well for a playable race); they're just more anthropomorphised animals.
What's interesting is that there does appear to be another race called Wolffolk, that are written by the same author as Tigerfolk (user Hanzo187 appears to be a prolific contributor to beast-folk style on dandwiki). However, the author of the "crossbreed" race decided not to crossbreed the two related (and not-awfully statted) *folk races that have a shared lore, but to go with the anthrolupe instead. Clearly they had a very specific vision in mind for their personal enjoyment.
Now we have some understanding of the two races the Tiger Anthrolupe came from, let's take a look in more detail at who they are specifically.
In some cases they look closer to weretigers with the bulid of of an average Anthrolupe and snouts that seem to be a middle ground to those of Tigerfolk and Anthrolupe. They are covered in thick fur that varies in color depending on the region and same many of the same features as both the Tigerfolk and the Anthrolupe.
This makes sense I suppose. Making the dangerous assumption that there are actual genetics involved here rather than a messed-up Wizard on a bender like most other weird D&D races, it would seem reasonable that we have some sort of half-wolf-half-tiger-half-person on our hands given the parentage.
And due to their unsettling appearance, like their predecessors, they are often discriminated heavily against, often being hunted down as monsters.
This does not surprise me.
Since they are a crossbreed, there history is mostly tied to their parent races. Their life-style depends solely on the community they live in or based on their on accord so it can vary a great deal.
There's an interesting comparison to Half Elves to be made here. In many campaigns' lore, Half Elves are raised in one society or the other and never the twain shall meet (thanks Tolkein). For the Tiger Anthrolupes there's an additional layer of being hunted down for looking like horrible monsters. So rather than blending in, it's unsurprising that some of them go off and make their own societies:
They are mostly an honor-based society. They tend to live in close-knit clans, termed "packs", and are rarely seen living in cities and towns. They care deeply for those from the same pack, often even willing to give their own lives in defense of friend or kin. Much of their values and beliefs stem from the Tigerfolk and Anthrolupe as well as a dedicated code of honor.
They also have a few anger management issues. While they are "very peaceful towards all" and "live somewhat similar to monks when they're more at peace with the world", apparently they "can go on a "bloodthirsty" like rampage unable to discern friend or foe". Whether this has anything to do with why they're discriminated against in their parent societies is not further explored.
Instead, we get a fascinating look into Tiger Wolf People gender politics:
In this society, they're gender neutral in almost all roles and positions except those where a specific gender is superior at.
This appears to be a progressive departure from regular Anthrolupe society in which gender roles are more rigid and the women don't normally leave home. Good job, Tiger Wolf People.
Right off the bat we get some broken stuff.
Your Dexterity score and Constitution score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1
This pretty much sets the tone here. We have two races? Let's add everything together and ignore things like balance.
Age. Tiger Anthrolupes generally reach adulthood around the age of 14
Presumably this is about the same age that they show up on dandwiki and start creating their own homebrew.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 40.
Yet another race with a speed increase. And not content with 35ft, this one is super special with 40ft. I swear to Boccob I'll go out of my way to try to find one which doesn't have this for next time.
Next they get the obligatory Darkvision. 120ft of it, too. I guess it wouldn't be a homebrew race if they didn't make you want to spontaneously break out into Anything You Can Do.
Being tiger people (or I guess wolf people? probably this could come from either) they get Claw attack which in addition to dealing the standard 1d4 slashing damage also counts as a light weapon, meaning that unlike many races they can use their natural weapon as an off-hand attack.
But wait - there's more! They also get a Bite attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage (read charitably this is a separate, single attack, though as written you appear to deal the damage to every creature within 5ft of you).
Born Hunter. You have proficiency in the Perception, Survival, Athletics, and Nature skills
That's... a lot of skill proficiencies, and they're a really good selection too. Definitely a strong trait.
Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
Also we're just going to copy and paste abilities from the Wood Elf stat block because why not.
We're still not done! There's even a section of the article labeled "bonus traits". Just in case you thought they didn't have enough. This is where stuff gets really broken.
Feral Rage: When you are at half hit points or below, you enter a "Feral" state where your unarmed strikes deal an additional die of damage and gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1).
This is a really solid ability for monks, who already benefit pretty hard from the ability score increases of this race. Even if you're not a monk though, the ability to bite for 2d6 damage when you're below half health is still pretty great. The temporary hit points are just icing on the cake, particularly because of the wording of this feature which says you have those temporary hit points whenever you're below half health (note: not just when you're reduced below half) and there's no restriction of the number of times this can happen.
Animal Senses: Your sense of smell and hearing is exceptionally good, granting you advantage on Deception, Perception, and Stealth. You are also considered semiconscious when sleeping.
Advantage on a ton of checks, including checks you're already proficient in. Also you are aware of your surroundings while you're asleep. Sure, why not.
Finally, the last of the bonus traits:
Adapt Survival: You are proficient with improvised weapons.
Weirdly this makes a little more sense from a certain angle - a few of the previous features could be explained by just giving them the Tavern Brawler feat for free and splitting up the bonuses it gives you across multiple traits. Still an unnecessary trait for an already overpowered race though.
Unlike the parent races, the Tiger Anthrolupes have no subraces. I don't know why I keep including this section.
This is what I would consider a pretty typical homebrew race of the kind written by someone who stuck it up on the wiki so they could play it themselves. Brokenly overpowered, hits all the most common racial traits, written to heavily favour one specific class, and obviously tailored to their "personal enjoyment".
I'm honestly not sure this is worth fixing. Given how specific it is, only one person is ever going to want to play this race. There are other, better written races that cover the broad mechanical flavour. Most of the adjustments would just consist of wholesale removing traits. To the dumpster it goes.