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Thread: Human Subraces
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 06:26 PM #21
There shouldn't be any subraces, only cultural identities. I never really understood why all elves can use bows and longswords, all dwarves can use hammer and maces, all halfling can use slings. To me, that's more of a cultural aspect of upbringing.
What about a human brought up by dwarves? Why can't they use axes and hammers if they want to be a cleric of moradin? To me, you should be able to make those parts of the racial traits into cultural traits. So hill dwarves can use all hammers and axes, and a human who was raised by hill dwarves can use all hammers and axes.
So I would give humans +1 to two different stats, and the ability to choose a cultural trait.
As an aside, giving humans a bonus background or specialty wouldn't be a good default rule because that makes those rules elements necessary to run a game with humans. So if someone didn't want to use specialties and backgrounds, it would be harder to take out because humans needs them as part of their rules.
Last edited by Daag; Friday, 28th September, 2012 at 06:49 PM.
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Friday, 28th September, 2012, 08:24 PM #22
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
To be blunt, when 4e said that subraces were gone, I was quite happy. Seeing it poke its head out as 4e developed was not something I like. I want subraces to DIAF.
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 08:24 PM #23
Subraces of humans gets into certain real world issues that can best be defined as "marketing nightmares."
It's already bad enough that the good elves all have white skin and live above ground (y'know, where there's sun and stuff) and the bad elves all have black skin and live underground (where, y'know, there's no good reason to have dark skin because it doesn't protect you from the sun). D&D has had to live with that particular little piece of genius for 20 years (I think some of the way they push Drizzt so hard is because he takes the drow away from being 'designated bad guys... all with black skin').
We do not want to open that can of worms. Do it with backgrounds, do it with feats, do it with optional cultural bonuses, but do not do it with 'subraces.' Goes south very quick.
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 08:25 PM #24
I think there could be room for human sub-races. Not ones based on culture, but sub-races based on strains of humanity touched by magic or the gods, etc.
The Numenorean / Dunedain people in Lord of the Rings would be the perfect example. They are clearly human, but they were granted by the Valar a much longer lifespan than ordinary humans as well as greater physical and spiritual capabilities.
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 10:32 PM #25
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
And it's not about which is better, as neither is (or, rather, they're better at different things). One side might very well say: "The reason we live in cities and you live in the backwoods is because we're better suited to it than you!" And the other side would reply "No the reason you can't live in the woods is because you're too soft. You need stone walls and cleared plains to feel safe."
As someone who has a whole lot of relatives out in the farms of Saskatchewan, there is a very dismissive attitude towards "cityfolk".
It's all we do.
Will people get offended? Yes. But as demonstrated by this thread, many people don't even want any culture in races. And even the implication dwarves are stouter or elves are more agile is seen as this suggestion that they're being forced into certain roles, that they're only good at certain things and not others. I think many people would be happy if race was just a cosmetic thing. Which is pushing the silly end of the PC spectrum.
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 10:36 PM #26
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Unless there was a separate "region of origin" only for humans. Which would be almost exactly what I was proposing only with a different name.
Is changing "subrace" for humans to "region" all it would take to make this okay?
Friday, 28th September, 2012, 11:18 PM #27
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Dude, it's called a "subrace." The word specifies a genetic, hereditary component, simply by the word. And it mechanically includes things like ability score adjustments and special abilities that are inherently part of your character. AND, it works against the archetype of humans as uniquely versatile. Your origin as a country bumpkin would be welded into your character from birth. Not cool.Originally Posted by Jester Canuck
I'll take missing the point for 900, Alex.Originally Posted by Jester Canuck
The idea isn't that it's wrong because one is better than the other. It is wrong because it narrowly defines people. It stereotypes people. Human beings. Which is BAD, even if you're intending it to limit to only imaginary gumdrop magic land and people who never actually existed or could ever exist in a game that only some dorks on the internet play.
It doesn't really matter what in-world explanation you use. The unfortunate Implications would be there either way. You can't avoid them. You call a game mechanic a "sub-race" and you divide humans according to it, you have a corporate entity in WotC saying, "Oh, isn't it fun to pretend that all humans are inherently dividable into little camps based on their level of wealth?"
It's not cool. It's a bit genre-appropriate, but (and I'm sure this won't come as a shock to anyone) this genre can be insanely bigoted. D&D does not need to truck in that as a matter of default gameplay. And WotC would be well advised to steer entirely clear of it themselves.
Right, but we're not saying a CERTAIN KIND OF PERSON is a given way.Originally Posted by Jester Canuck
It's not really a slippery slope kind of thing.Originally Posted by Jester Canuck
Sub-races are inappropriate for humans.
We can still make up all the imaginary fart sprites we want and define them as however smelly we want to define them as, because they are imaginary and so whatever.
Not so for humans. "Rural" and "Urban" humans actually exist. And they are not defined by what they are.
The only little wiggle room I can see here is if D&D wanted to delve into things like Neandertals or possibly with fantasic human mutants, in which case we fall into imaginary fart sprite territory again and get to define them however we want. But normal humans should not have "sub-races," because normal humans in the real world do not have "sub-races." We have differences, we have culture, we have divisions, we have wars, but we are all human beings in the end, and D&D needs to reflect that.
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Saturday, 29th September, 2012, 12:45 AM #28
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
The only implication is that people living off the land, who need to cut lumber, haul water, till crops, and work to survive might, just might, be more physically fit on average than those in a city who rely on other skills.
As I said elsewhere, we can dump the "subrace" terms for humans and call it "origins" or "region" or "heritage".
The intent is more to make humans more mechanically interesting, to make the stat boosts of the other races more appealing, and to make humans as diverse as all the flavour says they are.
Eventually WotC will want alternate humans in the game, be it from the shadow plane or the like. And it would be nice if there was an easy mechanical way to swap out human racial traits.
Saturday, 29th September, 2012, 01:05 AM #29
No. WotC will never want alternate humans in the game. You notice EVERY TIME they introduce something that might be an alternate human they make sure to make them a brand new race, just to avoid the unfortunate implications.
Origin and history both work, but subraces and humans are never happening. Ever.
Saturday, 29th September, 2012, 01:30 AM #30
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
How about taking away the straight +1 to ability scores across the board, make it so that humans get +1 to ability checks instead (in combination with the +1 to any one ability score)?
This might not be quite good enough compared to other races, though, so they might need something else?
As far as the topic: I think it might not be a very good idea (or really necesarry). The whole 'ruralite' and 'urbanite' stuff is basically what backgrounds are for, right?