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Thread: Human Viability

  1. #11
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    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Athelstaine View Post
    Hello all,

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I have been running a 5th edition game for a bit now that is going to come to a close in a couple months. I currently use just the core books, with handpicked material from some of the splat books, and some modified/nerfed feats. I have been thinking of a new game after this one ends. I would like to try using the basic, featless game. My problem is this?

    How do you make humans viable in a game with out feats, since the variant humans will not be used. I am of the opinion that +1 to all stats will not balance out the demi human perks. I am trying to find a way to make humans a race that is not immediately overlooked. I was thinking of letting them gain extra proficiencies. I just keep knocking my head against a wall trying to come up with a way.

    Was wondering if anyone had some ideas on this. I will be using pretty much the core races from the PHB, with a few possibly from Volo's for comparison. Any help would be much appreciated and thank you for your time.

    As others have mentioned, standard humans work well with point buy. Don't discount them yet, lol.

    If you still want something, allow variant humans with the stipulation it's the only way to get a feat and make the feat list very limited. Or even only prodigy as mentioned.

  2. #12
    I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. With careful consideration, I have decided to just roll with it as is. There are some good suggestions above, that I will keep in mind, in case my players have anything negative to say about it. I was planning on using the die roll method (4d6, drop lowest) for abilities, point buy may be the way to go. Thank you all for the help and advice, it is much appreciated.
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  3. #13
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    one could give the human +5 to ability scores divided as they choose, with no more than 2 points attributed to any one score.

    this is less than the 6 points divided equally, but mitigates a third +2 potential. So possible of three abilities getting +1 and one gets +2; or two abilities get +2, and one gets +1. The downside is the even spread only boosts five ability scores

  4. #14
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    Humans can also be balanced in setting. Maybe everywhere openly accepts humans but some places doesn't accept dwarves, some not accepting of elves etc. They can also be balanced with magic items.

    Also: humans are the only race that I know of that can start with 5 different stats at 14 (with point buy) and another at 11. They make great multiclassers if you go this more generalist route.
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  5. #15
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    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Athelstaine View Post
    How do you make humans viable in a game with out feats, since the variant humans will not be used.

    ...

    They are min/maxers, and i do not mean that as bad connotation. They primarily make characters for tactical combat rather than roleplay and I can work with that. That is what they enjoy, while I go more for the role play aspect. I do not punish them for that playstyle, after all if they are not having fun, why play? Even though as player/dm I prefer humano centric worlds, this new campaign will be set in the Nentir Vale with pretty much any race around. I just wanted humans to not be easily discarded because of mechanics. I am probably overthinking it, I will just do as you suggest and put it before them to hear their opinions and then make any adjustments that could be made based off that.

    ...

    With careful consideration, I have decided to just roll with it as is.
    I think you did the right thing. Min/maxers will just try to pick the best option mechanically. Non-variant humans are not good for min/maxers, although they are perfect for many other players. But I don't see the reason to change something in the game to do a favor for min/maxers, for the simple reason that a min/maxer's game is by definition about finding one of the best combos and pick that, and whatever you change in the available material won't change the way a min/maxer will play the game (they may pick something different, but what they pick is not even the point).

    However, if you really want to force a certain narrative (e.g. all or mostly human PCs), just do that upfront i.e. rule that in your next campaign non-human races cannot be chosen as PCs. Your min/maxers might complain at first (especially if they had already a combo in mind), but one minute later they will be back to min/maxing whatever else is available to them. But the upfront way is more honest than trying to tweak things to make them more/less attractive, and more robust since you directly get what you want, while your house rules may not always have the wanted outcome and could even open up new unforseen exploits.

  6. #16
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    IME, the human is a common option with point buy, since you can easily design a character to maximize your ability scores. Even if rolls are used, the human becomes a strong choice with 4+ odd ability scores.

    One useful variant is to use the human languages from SCAG, granting Humans an additional racial language. In most human dominated locations, humans are going to speak that language primarily, but will use Common when dealing with outsiders. This means that non-humans will have a harder time eavesdropping, and communicating with poorly educated people that never learned Common.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athelstaine View Post
    I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. With careful consideration, I have decided to just roll with it as is. There are some good suggestions above, that I will keep in mind, in case my players have anything negative to say about it. I was planning on using the die roll method (4d6, drop lowest) for abilities, point buy may be the way to go. Thank you all for the help and advice, it is much appreciated.
    I think this is the best choice.

    I've grown tired of what I call "curating" player options. I used to try making all the options more appealing, like you're considering by tweaking the standard human, but I found that ultimately it just shuffles the deck regarding what is most appealing - with one big negative side effects: I wind up making those things I prefer more appealing than the stuff my players like.

    I find it freeing to just not care what the players choose, even if that means they avoid something I think ought to be in the game, like humans. Or gnomes. I really wish my players would play gnomes.

  8. #18
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    All the same, I think you can try to objectively assess how different mechanics compare. IMO gnomes are just fine balancewise, but standard humans are a bit weak. I'd say standard tieflings are weaker, and I have no problem with all the variant tiefling versions that have been published. The variant human is of course strong, but only works if you are using feats. You don't need to worry about this kind of thing, but worrying about balance isn't the same as pushing your players in a particular direction. Just the opposite, I'd have said.

  9. #19
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    Human with +1 all stats is ok, but you can have variant hyman races with different stat bonuses and other abilities. Eg in my Wilderlands the Antili can dual wield rapier and dagger. The Skandiks are always proficient in swimming and sailing.

  10. #20
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    Solution: have exactly one feat in the game: Prodigy (from Xanthar's Guide). Variant humans can pick this feat at first level. It gives proficiency in one skill, one tool and one language, and expertise (double proficiency) in one skill. Still give players the choice of standard or variant humans.

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