Custom/Homebrew Species Creation

This may be a very redundant or even stupid question so for that I apologize in advance. And Yes I know about the many species menageries that exist. My question pertains more to the “math” in creation.

A few of my friends and myself were looking at creating some custom species. Example of one being Neti. We wanted this to fit with the overall FFG system. Our issue is balance. We can’t figure out what the starting EXP is for each species. Example being lets say you start with all stats at base 2 and 130 EXP. You subtract a certain amount of XP for bringing one stat up to 3 but add EXP for bringing a stat down to 1. Then how much EXP you subtract from what’s left of that base 130 EXP for special abilities. Has anyone ever made a chart of this or has this been previously established and we’re all just nerf herders in a barrel.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Previously in response on other forums I’ve usually just gotten “use what’s established” followed by something derogatory. Hoping here is different. Thank you for any feedback given in advance.


Brawn 2
Agility 2
Intellect 2
Cunning 3 (-15 EXP, 5 EXP for every level added)
Willpower 2
Presence 1 (+5 EXP, 5 EXP for every level subtracted)

(No idea how experience would work on adding and subtracting for Wound/Strain Threshold)
Wound Threshold: 11+Brawn
Strain Threshold: 10+Willpower
Starting Experience:

(subtract 5-10 EXP based off special ability)
Special Abilities: Draethos begin the game with one rank in Melee. They still may not train Melee above rank 2 during character creation.
Dark Vision: Remove 2 setback dice from checks due to darkness.
Telepathy: (No idea how I’m making telepathy work. I’m torn on how to do it and have a few ideas. 1: during the characters’ turn may make a maneuver (during combat), free action (incidental) to send one message telepathically to one ally within engaged/short range.
2: Adding a cost to the first example by using advantage.
3: Allowing an upgrade for +10 EXP at character creation to send multiple separate messages or one message to the entire party within engaged/short/medium/long range (feel I haven’t worded this right and may be to powerful)
4: Allowing Telepathy to work for a difficulty check based on ranged bans
5: NO IDEA what I’m doing and feel free to laugh at me and make a better suggestion.

But this is an example I drew up to help explain my point better. No idea what starting experience should be and what’s added and subtracted from that base number to get the final Species Starting Experience number. Once again thank you for reading and any assistance given.

I would really encourage looking into Genesys here, as it has some excellent guidelines to building custom species.

The general idea is that you start with a 3 and a 1 in their stats and 100 XP. Each species gets basically one free skill rank, and starts with 10 base wounds and strain. (Genesys actually says that the first skill should cost XP as well, but then they just completely ignore it on their own species & archetypes!)

Increased a characteristic costs 10XP x the new rank, just like it does at character creation, and lowering a characterstic awards you 10XP x the original rank.
Modifying wounds by 1 or 2 is worth 5 XP. Strain is more valuable and costs 5 XP for a single point adjustment.
Special abilities is where it becomes guesswork and feelgood. Genesys provides some examples, Dark Vision for instance costs 5 XP.

So, let’s do an example build for your Draethos:

  • Starting with 3 Cunning and 1 Presence gives them 100 XP to start with.
  • You raise their wounds to 11, which costs 5 XP.
  • Their rank in Melee is free (or 5 XP if you wanna price it.)
  • Dark Vision costs another 5 XP
  • Your phrasing of Telepathy confuses me a little. Either it’s a maneuver or an incidental. The only time you mention both is if you allow an existing maneuver (like moving) as an incidental. Telepathic communication with allies in short range should be pretty cheap, and not very gamebreaking. I’d say you could even make it Medium range and then have it cost 5 XP. The caveat would be that it needs to be someone you know and who is willing to “listen”, so you can’t use it against your foes.

So, in total: 100 - 5 (wounds) - 5 (darkvision) - 5 (telepathy) = 85 XP
Or 80 XP if you wanna put a cost on the Melee rank.

Note please that these guidelines are probably not what FFG actually used when they made the Star Wars species (which is why some of them are just way better than others.) These are the guidelines made for Genesys players to get a vague idea for how to price their own custom species, but I found them to work pretty well! (And I have used them for both SW and Genesys to good effect)


First off I want to thank you for the amazing reply. I appreciate it a lot. You’re explanation really helped. Secondly, I’ve been debating grabbing both Genesis books that are out now. I will probably add a few more species. Honestly Neti has confounded me the most.

Thirdly on your The Old Republic Era Sourcebook, just thank you! I love it. I did post a separate post/reply to you on it’s forum page. And I would appreciate any response you may have on it. May just post my ideas up on here soon and go from there. As the campaign I’m running pulls from multiple force religions/orders I’m not just working on a ton of Sith trees that have confounded me but Blackguard and Matukai as well.

In terms of Telepathy I’m honestly just as confused. I’m not really sure how to word it or make it work. I feel like the ability can be used whenever to anyone willing to listen within engaged, short, or even medium range whether that be during play for story purposes or in combat to coordinate with another party member/members . With long range being an upgrade at character creation or later as an option (not sure on this one). I also feel if used in combat dice should be involved? Like if you’re coordinating combat you add a boost die to you and your companion(Once again just shooting in the dark here)? As someone who really know the whole Tales of the Jedi era we never really saw Odan-Urr use it except when he tried Battle Mediation. And honestly that was him just using the force power itself which due to his natural telepathy inherent to his species may have been a more natural force power for him to acquire and use effectively but I digress. I hope my ideas surrounding telepathy are clearer? If not apologies. It’s wording what I think it should do and balancing it with being a viable special ability that is balanced is the tricky part.

Regardless thank you once again for your wonderful and amazing response.

I think my take on telepathy was mostly “it’s like talking, but with your brain”. Mechanically, it should be barely any different than using a commlink, and Star Wars already uses those plenty. You can already shout things to your allies during combat, and people within Medium range “need to talk loudly to hear eachother” (see the Core Rulebooks on rangebands). As it stands right now, yelling to my buddy “Charlie, go around and flank them!” is already an incidental. The only benefit here is that the enemy can’t hear you.

What goes beyond that, actually making checks to “coordinate” stuff? That’s talents. That’s Inspiring Rhetoric and Field Commander. Those two talents are designed to actually do things with your allies.

If we’re talking purely communication, Star Wars literally already has this! Polis Massan from Strongholds of Resistance (Age of Rebellion splatbook) have telepathic communication:

Telepathy: Polis Massans can communicate with other beings using a simple form of telepathy. At short range, this is akin to a broadcast, and any being will “hear” what the Polis Massan says. They can “whisper” to individuals at engaged range.

That’s pretty close to what you are trying already. Of course, if you don’t want it to be a broadcast, you can always just change that part of it, and say that they can target specific people.

Genesys has another similar feature, the talent Silent Communication from the Secrets of the Crucible setting book:

Your character can soundlessly communicate messages to allies within short range. Allies cannot
reply in turn (unless they also possess this talent). The complexity and length of a message may be
limited by your GM during structured gameplay, as it is with spoken communication, or based on the current situation of environmental conditions.

Increase the range of this talent by one range band for each additional rank of Silent Communication. This talent may be accomplished through thought-sending, pheromones, gravimetric pulses, strobing lights, or some other method that your character has established as a way for their allies to understand them.

You’d probably ignore the “range increase” here, or make that a feature that can be bought at creation (since you aren’t using this as a talent). But the general idea of “send a message to a friend” remains the same.

The Polis Massans from Strongholds of Resistance have telepathy rules:

Telepathy: Polis Massans can communicate with other beings at short range using a simple form of telepathy. This communication is akin to a broad-cast, and anyone within short range “hears” the Polis Massan’s speech. Polis Massans can only “whisper” privately to beings they are engaged with.

Beyond that, they need to use a “Polis Massan Voicebox” that allows them to “talk” normally.

As for statting species, here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Choose Characteristic spread (usually 322221, 332211, or 222222).
  2. Assign appropriate starting XP. 120 for 222222, -10 for one raised Characteristic, -30 for two raised Characteristics.
  3. Choose bonuses. One or two (or optional) skills costs 5 (for each skill point). A moderate talent costs 5. A bonus like remove a Setback also costs 5. More narrative bonuses are up to the maker’s discretion. Additional Limbs should come at the cost of a Characteristic point AND 15 XP, or 25 XP. It also reduces their Strain Threshold by 2.
  4. Choose maluses. A malus should generally provide +10 XP, sometimes with a 10 XP option to remove the malus (cancelling out both effects).
  5. Tweak WT/ST. Both start at 10+, and you should generally tweak it only +/-1. If you increase a net of 2 or more, I’d put it at a cost of 5 XP. If you decrease by a net of 2 or more, I’d give +5 XP (the effects of Additional Limbs is not counted for the net).

My general approach is to keep a basic setup of 322221, 100 XP, adjust the WT/ST by no more than 2 points (combined), and add a skill and a small bonus. Sometimes, if needed, I’ll tweak the bonuses or XP a little bit. But that’s the simplest method.