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Homebrewing the Discworld

June 22, 2017

I’ve been playing with the idea of running a Discworld campaign in D&D 5e and in doing so realised there a number of changes that need to be factored in.


First up, the number races in the Discworld is much more limited. We’ve got humans, dwarfs and trolls obviously but is there anything else that can be used? Discworld gnomes are 6 inches tall and as strong as a human but the 5e rules don’t really account for tiny races very well so I’ve crossed them off the list. Discworld elves are the epitome of evil and so rare in the world as to be discounted as well, as such that removes half-elves from the equation. So what does that leave?

Goblins are a possiblity and the PC race rules in Volo’s Guide to Monsters would probably work well enough so there’s that. Orcs aren’t really a thing though at least one is cannon but considering their rarity it’s unlikely that half-orcs would be viable either. Tieflings are clearly right out along with Dragonborn and Halflings too.

So that really leaves us with humans, dwarfs, trolls and possibly goblins. But there are other things to consider. For example, Discworld trolls are distinctly different from the trolls found in the Forgotten Realms. I realised that, as a major race, I’d need to come up with something original for them. So here’s my go at it.

Trolls, A Playable Race

Trolls are a silicon based species, slow and often seen as dull witted, they are not to be underestimated. Trolls naturally come from the mountain ranges near the Hub where they live quiet lives of contemplation and occasional all out war with the Dwarfs. However when they head down to the cities and towns nearer the Rim the increased temperatures cause them to slow down as it impairs their silicon brains. This is the cause of the common misconception that Trolls are stupid brutes.

Ability Score Increase: Your Strength score increases by 1 and your Constitution score increases by 2.

Age: Trolls mature at about the same rate as humans but it is not currently known how long their natural lifespan is as so few die of natural causes.

Alignment: Troll culture can often be seen as brutish but this is largely a misconception. Most trolls lean towards Neutral though some notable ones such as Chrysoprase are clearly evil. Trolls come from a variety of backgrounds and can feasibly take any alignment.

Size: A fully grown Troll can be anywhere between 5 and 9 feet tall. Your size is Medium.

Speed: Your base movement speed is 30.

Towering Imposition: Due to their size and reputation for toughness Trolls have proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Natural Armour: Trolls are made of stone. Literally. Your base Armour Class is 13 plus your Constitution modifier when not wearing armour.

Powerful Build: You are considered one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag or lift.

Silicon Brain: Troll brains are made of impure silicon and thus they slow down the warmer they get, you have disadvantage on all Intelligence based rolls when the ambient temperature is above 10 degrees centigrade. However at lower temperatures Troll brains become drastically more efficient, you gain advantage on Intelligence based rolls when the ambient temperature is below -10 degrees centigrade.

Silicon Diet: Troll physiology is silicon based and as such they are immune to poison damage from poisons designed for humans and dwarfs.


I see no reason why any of the core classes should be excluded from this setting but I have stipulated a few restrictions.

  1. Sorcerers can only take Wild Magic as their origin, this is a whimsical setting and randomness is to be encouraged. To add to that I’m also house-ruling that Sorcerers must roll for a Wild Magic surge after every 1st or higher level spell. They roll 1d100 and surge on a 1 or 2. However if they have used their Tides of Chaos feature they roll 1d10 and surge on a 1. I’ve done this because I don’t like the idea of the GM being able to fiat Wild Magic surges. They should be truly chaotic and beholden purely to chance. This ensures that.

  2. Artificers can only take the Alchemist subclass. As anyone that’s read the novels knows, there has only ever been one gun (gonne) in the Discworld and that was buried with Lance Constable Cuddy. As such there are no gunsmiths in this setting.

  3. Mystics can bugger right off. The whole class is unbalanced and for the moment I’m not allowing them in any game of mine until I’ve seen some significant reworking of their mechanics.

For the moment that’s all I’ve decided to change but any further additions will be added to this post.

Nick Boughton avatar

About Nick Boughton
Just a nerdy web and systems developer on the webbertubes. I make silly things and play D&D.

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