Thread: Morrus on... Races
Monday, 20th February, 2012, 08:56 PM #61
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Human default variation
+1/-1 races: elf, dwarf (half-elf is even less)
+2/-2 races: gnome, halfling, half-orc
+3/-3 races: ogres, satyrs, nixies
+4/-4 races: pixies, aarakrocra
The bonuses/penalties are symbolic above. I believe we are talking about personal make up in all abilities (both physical and mental ability scores and other racially-tied abilities).
Having variety is cool, but perhaps extraordinary variance could be covered as common, uncommon, and rare classes are to be? It is not easy playing a nixie in a non-aquatic campaign. Perhaps how relatively difficult each different race plays could be suggested by another rarity rating? - One that could change when suggesting different core terrain types and other campaign features?
I really don't want +0/-0 +0 special abilities for every race. However, massive variance should not be a requirement either. There can be a middle ground that works for every preference across the spectrum.
The catch is: how broad do we make the default variance so races like Red Dragons fit in, but are still commonly highest level foes? Do they only fit in at younger levels or might other limitations work as well? Perhaps races could receive a separate "Maturity Point" score for age advancement? Then certain acts (like passing a lot of time) could increase MPs while others increase XPs?Amateur Enigmatographer
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Magsman (Lvl 14)
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
ø Ignore shidaku
It could be broken down to begin with by giving each race a melee/ranged/martial ability, a caster-related ability and a racial-flavor ability. The player could then decide which of the 3 they wanted, based on which class they're rolling or how they want their character to be.
EX, 4e had Elven accuracy, which allowed you a reroll, but it also gave you Heroic Effort, a static +4 bonus to a previous attack or save.
Both accomplish similar things, but flavorfully present them differently.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
ø Ignore Blacky the Blackball
I'm almost certainly in the extreme minority here, but I think race should matter so much that I'm a fan of racial classes.
Not just a single "elf" class or "dwarf" class though (although I do like that option too) but multiple classes for each race.
An elf who uses magic shouldn't just be the same as a human wizard except with pointy ears and stat bonuses. An elf who uses magic should use magic in the natural elven tradition of singing magical chants; which has nothing to do with human book-learned wizardry.
So you have a "human wizard" class and an "elven spellsinger" class.
Similarly, half orc religion is not like human religion at all. They don't have "clerics" that go clanking around in heavy armour and turning undead, while praying meditatively in temples. Half-orc shamans are wild and magical, blurring the line between divine and arcane power, and worshipping in orgiastic rites around fires.
So you have a "human cleric" class and a "half-orc shaman" class.
Some of these could be exclusive to a race - for example maybe the "halfling burglar" (which is different from the "human thief") requires the keen senses and natural stealthiness that a halfling has, and members of other races simply cannot be one.
Others could be based on a race but open to outsiders - for example maybe an elf who was brought up amongst humans might be able to learn to be a "human wizard" even though that form of magic use is alien to its own people.
Of course, the down-side to all this is that it requires more classes. If you have, say, six races in the core book (human/elf/dwarf/halfling/half-orc/[dragonborn or tiefling or gnome]) one class per race (including humans) that no other race can be, and one class per race that other races can be given suitable upbringing and training, and then maybe three very generic classes that any race can be, that's still 15 classes.
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Gallant (Lvl 3)
- Join Date
- Jan 2012
ø Ignore Warunsun
The comments about race and species have me thinking. While species is probably a more technically correct term this is D&D therefore we will call them races. Also, this is D&D therefore we will have some kind of racial ability score adjustments. They have always existed. They will continue to exist.
I would like to see race return to the "races" or species as the case may be.
Center in point: Eladrin need to go back to the Planescape setting. Please bring back the Grey elves and High elves. Please. While there is nothing wrong with the 4E "Eladrin" it isn't an Eladrin (from previous editions) but more of a styled grey elf. I want my grey and high elf back to join the "wood elf" (the default elf in 4E). In fact I want my valley elves, drow elves, and aquatic elves. And I am not just talking about elves. I want the old "sub-races" or races of the species back. I want old school halflings: tall-fellow, hair-foot, stouts, and also light-feet (from 3e/4e). Would it hurt to pay a little fee and call them Hobbits again? It would be really sweet I think and well worth a couple of disclaimer lines in the Player's Handbook.
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
ø Ignore Thraug
I'd support having ability score modifiers, and in the case above, ones with very large discrepancies. Pixies simply should not make good traditional bash and brawl fighters. A dextrous pixie fighter that does very little damage that hits often, in vulnerable areas, and is hard to hit? Sounds good to me. There also shouldn't be pigeonholed race/class combos, allowing only one way to play a class. The classes should allow room for options that make sense. A 18 INT, 18 WIS Fighter with a 8 STR and 8 DEX can't compete in traditional melee combat with a high STR/DEX combatant, in any way. It just doesn't work. When was the last time you saw a 110 pound genius playing offensive line in the NFL, using his wit and smarts to outplay a 325 monster? You don't, they would get annihilated in the first 2 seconds of their 1st play, regardless of their clever tactics.
I know games aren't representative of reality, but they shouldn't throw reality aside. It should make _some_ sense. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.
Scout (Lvl 6)
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
ø Ignore Lidgar
On the topic of ability score bonuses and penalties (and how long they stay relevant): it maters how the system scales. I think there is a tendency to think in 3e/4e terms with some of this. With a reduced scaling factor, bonuses can remain relevant longer.
Another thought is to do away with bonuses, but skew the dice (this assumes a non-point buy system).
For example, instead of a straight 4d6, drop the low for all 6 ability scores, a dwarf character could have the following:
STR: 4d6, drop the lowest
CON: 5d6, drop the 2 lowest
INT: 4d6, drop the lowest
WIS: 5d6, drop the 2 lowest
Although the above is essentially the same as a bonus or penalty, it is less likely to result in stacking: it assumes you do not assign your rolls as you wish to each ability, although you could assign by pairs (STR/INT, CON/WIS, and DEX/CHA).
Defender (Lvl 8)
I haven't read the entire thread, so I apologize if this has been brought up before.
I eliminated 3-18 ability scores in my game in favor of bonuses/penalties (Str +1, Int -1, etc). Each character gets a certain number of points (ie, 6) to allocate as they want. No starting stat can be above +3....except as modified by race. Dwarves can start with a limit of Con +4 and Chr +2, Elves with Int +4/Con +2, and so on. The limit only applies at 1st level.
I've been very happy with this approach. It avoids racial bonuses and penalties without abandoning racial conventions. Everyone gets the same number of points to allot, and can prioritize them as they want without automatic penalties.
(It's probably possible to do it within the existing 3-18 system, but I found it easier without)
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Superhero (Lvl 15)
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
- Lynn, MA
ø Ignore keterys
Especially since D&D wants humanoids able to compete with giants and dragons, rather than getting squished like bugs and tossed about unable to hold their own.
Even if you go the far out extreme of having -8 and +8 modifiers, you could still have starting 11 str half-giants who never put a point into strength and starting 10 str pixies who invest heavily to end up higher.
So, yeah, back to what I said before: Don't make basic competence tie into ability scores (remove attack from the equation - str for attack never really made sense anyways) and you can do a lot more.
P.S. So tempted to find clips of pixies who are _very_ strong for their size and other things man-handling giants.
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
ø Ignore was
Always preferred race as fluff over race as crunch
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Seeing how much of a deal WotC's making about using modules, how about something like this:
Here are a list of possible character traits you can take.
Here's the race chapter, which tells you that if you want a classic Elf, take options A, B, and C from the big list, and make sure your Dexterity is at least 12. If you want to play a classic Halfling, don't have a Strength score above 12, and pick options D, E, and F.
GMs can decide if they want strict races or flexible races.
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