D&D (2024) After my players tried to break it, we discovered that the new half-race rules are hilarious and terrible.

The Glen

Legend
I handed my players the new character rules and told them to make half-race characters and to try and break the system. You can't actually break the system because the only real changes are purely cosmetic, but damned if they didn't make some of the strangest hybrids out there. Fire breathing halflings. Dwarves that can fly by just flapping their arms REALLY fast. Giant hippo men that are naturally stealthy. While the pairings were quite humorous and did give us more than a few laughs, we realized the half-race system is fairly shallow as is. Pick rules for a race, and then just reskin it as another race. Even if the abilities given and the reskin made no sense whatsoever. Everybody pretty much agreed they wanted actual half-elves, not an elf wearing a human skin suit. Same for half orcs. Realized that WOTC really wants all the options, but again if everybody is special, nobody is.
 

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It sounds to me that the designers for 1D&D should have done what Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition did with characters of mixed heritage. Allow the Player character to pick a particular heritage and then pick the heritage gift of another heritage. So if you wanted to play a half-elf, you could:

1) Pick the Human heritage and an Elven heritage gift

or

2) Pick the Elven heritage and a human heritage gift.

To get the original 5e Half-Elf, you just need to pick the second option. ;) The first option otoh will get you a human with the psychic gifts of an elf. Elves in LU: A5e possess psychic heritage gifts (minor precognition, one way telepathy, or enhanced perception). Hmm...now I have to wonder if the A5e Elves were modeled after the elves in LoTR. :p The elves in that setting had something psychic about them.

Aragorn IMO would be a Half-Elf based off the first option.
 

Tutara

Adventurer
I think you've inadvertantly shown the benefits of the system. Your mission was to make (in your mind) silly combinations. You succeeded!

I bet, though, for every combination you found humorous, someone trying in earnest could make a logical and narratively sound justification that makes sense. If you choose not to represent your character's heritage at all it obviously won't make sense, but that's a fluff choice, rather than a mechanical one. Hippos are actually terrifyingly stealthy, for example, and your other examples could absolutely work as well. If you were to attempt to justify abilities, rather than seeking not to, you would find it works just fine.
 


Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
It sounds to me that the designers for 1D&D should have done what Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition did with characters of mixed heritage. Allow the Player character to pick a particular heritage and then pick the heritage gift of another heritage. So if you wanted to play a half-elf, you could:

1) Pick the Human heritage and an Elven heritage gift

or

2) Pick the Elven heritage and a human heritage gift.

To get the original 5e Half-Elf, you just need to pick the second option. ;) The first option otoh will get you a human with the psychic gifts of an elf. Elves in LU: A5e possess psychic heritage gifts (minor precognition, one way telepathy, or enhanced perception). Hmm...now I have to wonder if the A5e Elves were modeled after the elves in LoTR. :p The elves in that setting had something psychic about them.

Aragorn IMO would be a Half-Elf based off the first option.
one flaw with that it will be used to min-maxing beyond the levels even the godhead intended.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I think you've inadvertantly shown the benefits of the system. Your mission was to make (in your mind) silly combinations. You succeeded!
I’d argue that their goal “break the system” could actually be better stated as ‘create something new you don’t get from a base species option’ which failed, like OP says, all that really is different is the cosmetic visuals, you’re still playing a dragonborn it’s just in a halfling suit, it’s still only able to do what a standard dragonborn can do.
 


darjr

I crit!
I do think there may be issues. I find that a persistent reskin often drifts into a player asking for abilities that the “skin” has and not the thing reskinned.

For example a dragon born reskin of a dwarf player may at some point argue that because the dragon born has scales it’d convert some bonus in situations that mechanicly it shouldn’t, because scales are not skin. At that point you as DM can let it be which begins the creep or stop it which kinda sucks.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think you've inadvertantly shown the benefits of the system. Your mission was to make (in your mind) silly combinations. You succeeded!

I bet, though, for every combination you found humorous, someone trying in earnest could make a logical and narratively sound justification that makes sense. If you choose not to represent your character's heritage at all it obviously won't make sense, but that's a fluff choice, rather than a mechanical one. Hippos are actually terrifyingly stealthy, for example, and your other examples could absolutely work as well. If you were to attempt to justify abilities, rather than seeking not to, you would find it works just fine.
Yes, this really seems to show the system working as designed.
 

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