In my homebrew game, the mir are a race of cat-like wildlings — a category of (usually) small animal races with human-like qualities including speech, opposable thumbs, and the ability to move bipedally. Mir are the most common of the wildling races, and fill the role in my setting of more traditional small races such as halflings or gnomes. Other races such as kenku and gnolls, in my setting, would be considered wildlings as well.
I based the 5e conversion for mir on the existing write ups for halflings and tabaxi, as well as the Monster Manual entry for cats. I actually love the Halfling Nimbleness trait, and to be completely honest I would have been perfectly happy swapping out the halfling’s Brave for Darkvision and calling it a day. However, I wanted to come up with something a bit more interesting for the blog — I don’t imagine other DM’s will be quite as keen to fully replace halflings, after all, so the mir deserve to be a bit unique.
Right away I knew that as a small race I wanted to include some sort of movement ability, and while reading through the rules for jumping in the PHB I noticed that both long and high jumps require a 10′ running start. To my knowledge, unlike humans, cats tend to come to a full stop and coil their muscles beneath them before executing a powerful leap. That inspired me to design Wild Agility as a racial exception to those rules. Kitten’s Claws is more straight forward, simply a lesser version of the tabaxi’s Cat’s Claws. It didn’t feel right granting the same damage and climbing speed bonuses to a small race with a lower base speed, so I made this version.
Versatile Limbs is where it gets a bit weird, and it’s the part I expect to spend the most time defending. Here’s the short explanation of where it came from: the base speed for most medium sized races is 30, while for short and small sized races it is typically 25. However, the base speed in the Monster Manual for domestic cats is 40. Wolves, horses, and other animals also tend to have base speeds that start around 40. Because that trend includes animals of all sizes, my takeaway is that quadrupeds tend to have a naturally higher base speed than bipeds. So I thought it would be cool if the mir had that as a situational option, and I felt I needed to make it require a bonus action to prevent abuse.
I feel like this race is decently balanced, but I haven’t gotten the chance to playtest it yet. If you give the mir a try, I would love some feedback! In the future I’ll continue this series with another wildling race: the krokoa.