D&D 5E A Compilation of all the Race Changes in Monsters of the Multiverse

Over on Reddit, user KingJackel went through the video leak which came out a few days ago and manually compiled a list of all the changes to races in the book. The changes are quite extensive, with only the fairy and harengon remaining unchanged. The book contains 33 races in total, compiled and updated from previous Dungeons & Dragons books.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Irlo

Adventurer
How many people are going to use these new changes? Are you going to use all of them or just some of them mixed with some of the old options? Any you plan on tweaking any somewhat?
I don't plan on buying or using the book, although someone will probably share the content with me on D&D Beyond. And I don't think my players are interested in the expanded character race options. I'll take it case by case if any of my players ask.
 

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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Strength as it affects combat is very abstract. No surprise, since D&D combat is abstract. How a big creature fights is largely narrative, not mechanical. There are probably a few existing mechanics to represent size in combat (the halfling's nimbleness trait, as an example) but not many, and that works for me. In this abstract combat-related capacity, it's easy for me to justify strong halflings -- if they need to be justified.

But like most ability scores, Strength is a mess of abstraction and concreteness, and because of that there is some dissonance in the way we interpret it.

It's easy to see a halfling as equal to or surpassing a goliath in certain Strength (Athletics) checks -- climbing, swimming, breaking free of bonds. (My son when he was four could climb a 25' rope without sweating. Now, he's four times older and nearly four times heavier and he wouldn't be able to pull that off anymore!) Put that halfling into contested Strength checks with a goliath, in a grapple or in arm-wrestling, and credulity gets strained. The advantage/disadvantage mechanic based on size discrepancies might be enough to bridge the gap of expectations there.

I don't even want to talk about jumping. Ugh.

Then there's the flat-out objective measures of Strength, carrying capacity and lifting limits. But even encumbrance is more abstracted than we might notice. Halfling-sized armor and gear weigh the same as the goliath's, so in some sense the halfling isn't really carrying the same weight, no matter what the tally on the character sheet says. For this purpose, I think powerful build covers the size differential well enough. I can't remember the last time it was important in my games to know if a particular halfling could pick up a particular boulder. I can shrug off the apparent incongruities of the push, drag, and lift limits for small characters vs. medium and larger.
Yep. D&D is meant to not be accurate or simulationist.

Rules as Written, a Badger can beat the average commoner in Dragonchess (or any other in-game game-contest) 3 times out of 10. An Ogre cannot lift as much as the world's strongest man ever has. Wizards and Sorcerers have a lower hit dice than Commoners do. Druids, due to some arbitrary rules of the D&D universe, cannot turn into a simple, harmless Swallow or Goldfish at level 2, but can turn into a Bear. You can play musical instruments and operate complicated machinery without being proficient in it.

D&D's rules are abstract and arbitrary. IMO, it aids the game. If we focus too much on what is "realistic", that will get in the way of the fun of the game.
 
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A thread about INT started a bit ago to join the one from a few days back about DEX. Those sound like some folks don't even like the idea of the stat.in question.
Earlier in this thread I think I was advocating to remove CON from the game (I hold to this belief!). Maybe we should do what Crimson was suggesting earlier and just get rid of stats? Or is that one sacred cow too many?

Or we go the Pillars of Eternity route, and make all stats non-literal - Strength becomes Might and applies to spells and so on as well as melee because it's not measuring physical strength any more, more like a metaphysical summary of the power of your character.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Earlier in this thread I think I was advocating to remove CON from the game (I hold to this belief!). Maybe we should do what Crimson was suggesting earlier and just get rid of stats? Or is that one sacred cow too many?

Or we go the Pillars of Eternity route, and make all stats non-literal - Strength becomes Might and applies to spells and so on as well as melee because it's not measuring physical strength any more, more like a metaphysical summary of the power of your character.
I like stats... just not these six. And probably not the ones anyone else would like :)
 

You're conflating simulation with insanely detailed and unpractical simulation. You always need some simplification and abstraction to have a functioning game. "These things are big and strong in the fiction, so they get bonus to the score that measures physical strength in the game" is a simulation.
Except, again, I'm not. There's an extremely easy, simple, low-cost way to represent the necessary degrees of variability: not having rigidly-fixed racial ability scores. Which is what I've said. Repeatedly. And which you've ignored, repeatedly, because apparently I gave too many examples. When I express my argument in straightforwaed terms, you brush it off as unimportant or unrealistic; when I ground it in explicit, actual examples from real-world statistics, it is too confusing to respond to. This whole process is deeply infuriating and, as a result, I won't be engaging with you about it any further. We have reached the "circular arguments and ignoring what is being said" stage and I just don't have the desire to do that.

Nobody has said they can't be strong. All I am saying is that, as a simple statistical fact, actual population dynamics reflect such a degree of variation that, even when you have a robust and well-selected sample, you WILL find that most (and possibly ALL) individuals don't actually have all of the traits that they "should" have to be in that population. Natural populations are not like dog breeds, where they're obsessively pruned to maintain a standard--or, rather, they're very much like actual dogs, who frequently fall short of a breed standard even when absolutely purebred. (As an example, I once owned a Parson Russell Terrier that was about half as much again as large as he "should" have been, despite being purebred. One of his brothers was even larger. They'd have failed the breed standard, despite having clear purebred documentation going back four generations.) Natural populations can exhibit seemingly extreme variation. Player characters are, almost by definition, members of the extremes of their culture and species. We should expect, in any serious simulation, that they would be quite likely to diverge from the norms of their species in many ways, physiology being one of them.

This...just...

You have to realize that this makes your argument entirely circular. You were asked to explain why these things worked for simulation when they don't conform to how statistics work, whereas the new set of approaches (everyone has flexible racial ability scores, but DMs can request, as they always have been able to, that players "play to type" etc.) actually DO conform so. When then challenged about how one gets the simulation required...you then justify it with the numbers you wish to use. The numbers are justified by simulation and the simulation is justified by the numbers. Perfectly circular.

(Also, I utterly despise that this loading of terms is a thing. ASIs come from levels. Racial ability bonuses come from race. Calling racial bonuses "ASIs" would be like calling all class-based number bonuses, like bonus rage damage, "PB." It's confusing and inaccurate, but used solely because it's faster.)

Yes, which is weird. Starting cap however is different for different species, and that is what will matter for most of the game (most campaigns end before level ten, so the theoretical cap is not reached by species without ASIs, assuming point buy.)
Why should it be different though?

ASI alone shifts standard deviation,
It literally doesn't, because it mathematically cannot. Changing the location of the center of a distribution by adding a constant value to all numbers in that distribution has literally, actually zero impact on the spread of that distribution. This is a mathematical fact. You can re-center any distribution wherever you like on the number line by adding constant values to everything without altering its mean to the slightest degree, and likewise there are infinitely many distributions of the same shape and identical center that have different variances. The two are completely mathematically distinct. (This comes from the definition of SD: you subtract the sample mean away from each data point, so if both the mean and all the data points have been shifted by the same constant, that constant is cancelled out, leaving the SD unchanged.)

But was I defending the cap of 20? I was not. I was defending ASIs as a concept.
Only to then use these very racial ability bonuses as part of the defense. I'm done.


You should see Str 7 Orcs and Dex 7 Elves sometimes as well by that exact reasoning. The bell curve of population doesn't just stop dead at a level only four points below average. You should see the entire spectrum
I am done with this conversation after this, it's become circular and insistent on using math terms factually incorrectly, but this deserves specific reply.

You are incorrect, here, because by default rules that come even before that, such (sapient, playable) beings simply don't exist--the lowest ability score players can assign by point-buy or array is 8, and 5e doesn't have negative modifiers. Of course, if your generation method is rolled scores, yes! There should be at least the possibility of a Str 3 orc or dragonborn, a Dex 3 elf, etc. They're fantastically unlikely for a variety of reasons, but they should in theory exist. (Rolling four 1s has a ~0.077% chance, or rather, exactly 1 in 6^4 = 1296 chance of getting it on any given roll. The chance of at least one stat of 3 in a group of 5 players (assuming they roll six sets of 4d6 drop lowest and never reroll or reject scores ever) is about 2.3% per campaign. You could alternatively say you expect at least one such character, on average, in about every 44 campaigns. Given most campaigns take at least a few months to wrap up, call it three months as a conservative estimate, that's roughly one appearance (on average) in 11 years of gaming, which would seem to fit the "extremely unlikely, but theoretically possible" definition as stated.
 

Irlo

Adventurer
(Also, I utterly despise that this loading of terms is a thing. ASIs come from levels. Racial ability bonuses come from race. Calling racial bonuses "ASIs" would be like calling all class-based number bonuses, like bonus rage damage, "PB." It's confusing and inaccurate, but used solely because it's faster.)
I probably shouldn't nit pick this one, since it's not the meat of your argument, but the racial trail IS called Ability Score Increase in the PHB text. The class-based advancement is Ability Score Improvement. Both ASIs.
 

I probably shouldn't nit pick this one, since it's not the meat of your argument, but the racial trail IS called Ability Score Increase in the PHB text. The class-based advancement is Ability Score Improvement. Both ASIs.
Of course it is. Because Natural Language makes EVERYTHING so clear and straightforward! How could there be anything ambiguous about using the exact same words to refer to fundamentally different things! That would be ridiculous!
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
You are incorrect, here, because by default rules that come even before that, such (sapient, playable) beings simply don't exist--the lowest ability score players can assign by point-buy or array is 8, and 5e doesn't have negative modifiers. Of course, if your generation method is rolled scores, yes! There should be at least the possibility of a Str 3 orc or dragonborn, a Dex 3 elf, etc. They're fantastically unlikely for a variety of reasons, but they should in theory exist. (Rolling four 1s has a ~0.077% chance, or rather, exactly 1 in 6^4 = 1296 chance of getting it on any given roll. The chance of at least one stat of 3 in a group of 5 players (assuming they roll six sets of 4d6 drop lowest and never reroll or reject scores ever) is about 2.3% per campaign. You could alternatively say you expect at least one such character, on average, in about every 44 campaigns. Given most campaigns take at least a few months to wrap up, call it three months as a conservative estimate, that's roughly one appearance (on average) in 11 years of gaming, which would seem to fit the "extremely unlikely, but theoretically possible" definition as stated.
That‘s all pretty much irrelevant since the character gen rules favor PCs having their stats in the higher values. That doesn’t mean they’re not still compared to the 3-18, 3d6 generated normal curve (as modified by any relevant ASI, of course).
As I see it, those blatantly favorable methods for generating PCs (compared to their NPC fellows) makes the argument that ASIs should be individually based redundant and unnecessary.
 

As I see it, those blatantly favorable methods for generating PCs (compared to their NPC fellows) makes the argument that ASIs should be individually based redundant and unnecessary.
Alternatively (and completely in keeping with simulationist logic) it could just be that adventurers are not a representative sample of the overall group. Which is almost surely factually correct, because adventurers do ridiculously dangerous things for money, or fame and glory, or out of a perceived moral imperative to do so. Much as how the vast majority of people in fictional worlds aren't Good or Evil, Lawful or Chaotic, and they may not even be True Neutral (being best described by "Unaligned"), yet almost all adventurers have a clear alignment and usually are pretty committed to it. The sample SHOULD be biased, if only because adventuring is a massive selective pressure that favors those who succeed more often, even if only marginally. Thus, racial ability bonuses being individual represents the much higher likelihood of weirdness (as I've said, repeatedly) while the overall high values represent the simple fact that player characters usually aren't ordinary, but are in various ways outliers before things even begin.

Each thing directly corresponds to an actual aspect of the world. Each one represents a (fictionally) real, measurable characteristic ("adventurers face heavy selection pressure" and "populations have very high variance and extremely low probability of all being average in all possible ways"), in a way that conforms surprisingly well to the actual dynamics one would expect of populations of living organisms. DMs either requesting that players stick to "expected" values unless there's (in their opinion) good reason not to, coupled with having NPCs that always use the "expected" values, will reinforce the overall statistical center, while players will represent the potential (but not always manifest) variance.

People keep making a big bugaboo about the HORRIBLE SPECTER of...a dwarf with slightly higher dexterity. But is that actually going to happen very much? Is there really going to be a flood of wimpy-twig half-orcs and Hollywood homely dragonborn? Is there really going to be such an enormous tidal wave of exactly defied expectations that things are going to suddenly and forevermore look totally bizarre?

I sincerely doubt it. Which makes all this "but simulation! But verisimilitude!" sound like a lot of hand-wringing over nothing whatever.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
People keep making a big bugaboo about the HORRIBLE SPECTER of...a dwarf with slightly higher dexterity. But is that actually going to happen very much? Is there really going to be a flood of wimpy-twig half-orcs and Hollywood homely dragonborn? Is there really going to be such an enormous tidal wave of exactly defied expectations that things are going to suddenly and forevermore look totally bizarre?

I sincerely doubt it. Which makes all this "but simulation! But verisimilitude!" sound like a lot of hand-wringing over nothing whatever.
Depends. You may be tired of people grumbling about players going off archetype. But there are some of us also tired of the HORRIBLE SPECTER of playing a character whose main stat bonus is 1 point lower than it could have been or the claim that a class-race combo is non-viable because the ASI is in the “wrong” place for it.
 

Depends. You may be tired of people grumbling about players going off archetype. But there are some of us also tired of the HORRIBLE SPECTER of playing a character whose main stat bonus is 1 point lower than it could have been or the claim that a class-race combo is non-viable because the ASI is in the “wrong” place for it.
Dunno about you, but it seems pretty clear "there are slightly too many atypical characters" is a massively lower concern than "I have a permanent reduction in either success chances or resources that could have gone to making a more unique, interesting character."

Because you cannot tell me that these ability scores actually lead to having more Rogues with low Dex. It just leads to either on-type races getting more resources to play with (and, thus, off-type ones having fewer.)
 

You are incorrect, here, because by default rules that come even before that, such (sapient, playable) beings simply don't exist--the lowest ability score players can assign by point-buy or array is 8, and 5e doesn't have negative modifiers.
By the exact same logic, you wouldn't see Str 8 orcs or Dex 8 elves if you're using a ruleset with racial ASIs (and point buy).
Not getting Str 8 orcs or Dex 8 elves is absolutely as valid as not getting Str 7 orcs or Dex 7 elves. If the game rules limit the distribution of stats in the population, then that distribution of stats is dependent upon the rules and arguments based upon real-life distributions of people would not be valid.
 


Individuals vary, even with ASIs. Still a weak goliath is stronger than a weak halfling, average goliath is stronger than an average halfling, and a strong goliath is stronger than a strong halfling. You can still make a weak goliath, it just mean they're weak compared to other goliaths, and not necessarily weak compared to halflings. This is not weird, not a difficult concept. A weak bear is still probably rather strong compared to humans. I fully agree that the current (or PHB, really) system has flaws and weirdnesses, but the basic concept is reasonable. If for game balance reasons one doesn't like this, or just feel the system is too bugged otherwise to be fixed, I get that. But acting like the concept itself is somehow incoherent is just weird.
 

Earlier in this thread I think I was advocating to remove CON from the game (I hold to this belief!).
Con is pretty pointless and completely passive. We know strength is a common dump stat, so combine it with con. If we at the same time want to make strength less obviously to be about physical strength, rename the combined stat to 'fitness' or something like that. Is there more fantasyish word for that?

Maybe we should do what Crimson was suggesting earlier and just get rid of stats? Or is that one sacred cow too many?
Almost certainly. And that's a big part of the issue here. If one was building an ability system from scratch without the baggage of tradition, there is no way we'd end up with what we currently have.

Or we go the Pillars of Eternity route, and make all stats non-literal - Strength becomes Might and applies to spells and so on as well as melee because it's not measuring physical strength any more, more like a metaphysical summary of the power of your character.
That sounds a tad too far into vagueness for my liking, but could in theory work. But I'm not sure it would be a good fit for recognisable D&D archetypes. Powerful mage and a huge barbarian both have the same might score?
 

AnotherGuy

Adventurer
I'm not sure if someone has already mentioned it (too many pages to skim) but the resistance to sleep spells which the fey enjoyed which as now been moved to trance is a brilliant design, and for one important reason. In the first DL chronicles, fairly early on in the book, Raistlin used a sleep spell on a group of goblins. He would not have not used that particular spell if they were partially resistant due to their ancestry. So kudos to WotC for getting that right!
 
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I'm not sure if someone has already mentioned it (too many pages to skim) but the resistance to sleep spells which the fey enjoyed which as now been moved to trance is a brilliant design, and for one important reason. In the first DL chronicles, fairly early on in the book, Raistlin used a sleep spell on a group of goblins. He would not have not used that particular spell if they were partially resistant due to their ancestry. So kudos to WotC for getting that right!
Whilst I suspect it was more simply motivated by the fact that Trance is actually what prevents you needing to sleep, like, literally, it is helpful in that it keeps it so it's an "Elf thing".
We know strength is a common dump stat, so combine it with con. If we at the same time want to make strength less obviously to be about physical strength, rename the combined stat to 'fitness' or something like that. Is there more fantasyish word for that?
Vigour would be the most obvious one.

The only trouble with combining them is if we keep the stat increasing HP at the same rate, it effectively becomes the new "uber stat", moreso even than DEX is now.
Powerful mage and a huge barbarian both have the same might score?
Yup. It offended a lot of people and confused others so probably not ideal lol.
 


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