5.5E An idea on ASI's and varied Ancestries/Heritages


I've read the most recent thread on the idea of no more subraces, and various discussions about Racial ASI's and whether they should or should not be done away with.

I can see both sides of the debate, but someone mentioned that a +2 or +1 isn't really that massive of a difference between races. I thought about that, and you know, they are right...ESPECIALLY as long as there is a 20 cap on any ability score. In the end, all races end up the same anyways on how different an ability score is. At low level that Half-Orc Warrior may have a bonus above others, but once everyone get's that 20 STR or 20 DEX (or why not both...) there really is no difference in the ability score itself.

So...I thought, why not do it how WotC has been headed already, where you can assign ability scores where you want (as per Tasha's) and substitute abilities with other abilities if you want.

HOWEVER...Races are not defined only by what they get at creation, but also what they can become. In this, I thought perhaps you could have it where certain races can INCREASE their ability score BEYOND 20. For example, perhaps a Dwarf could have a Constitution score maximum of 22, and a Mountain Dwarf could have a maximum STR score of 21.

This gives an opportunity to emphasis the abilities which may signal their racial preferences, but at the same time not really be a factor at creation.

If we took it a step further...perhaps add things like Racial bonuses at certain levels in regards to abilities (with Humans being able to take many of them as they wish or something...haven't figured how to handle humans under this scenario except maybe they get to choose one ability score of their choice to exceed 20 by 2 or 3).

For example, perhaps a Mountain Dwarf gets the ability at level 6 to identify any type of stone or metal (including gems). At level 12 gets the ability to mold and smith metal into any design he wants (for example, as a smith make normal weapons, jewelry, etc, as long as they have the supplies and time). At level 18 (or 20) they get the ability to create Magic Armor and Weapons if they choose with it taking a year for each +1 or equivalent that they imbue the item with.

Things like that...which inspire one to take a certain race or subrace, but it's the future of the race that you look at, not the race at creation. You would still see them separated by Ability scores, but it is in regards to future development stressing the usual traits rather than up front character creation.


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I very much agree with both. (And ideally to me the possible max scores would be 18/20/22/24, but that's a minor point.)

Problem is, I don't see the two camps that really complained being in favor of these.

WotC actively went away from racial max scores (in addition to starting modifiers) because people complained about builds being gimped long-term. You'd just bring back that talking point, despite racial max scores (instead of starting modifiers) having little to no effect on most D&D player characters before getting replaced. And the people who refuse to discern between human populations and different species ought to hate it even more. I'm guessing the former group is the bigger of the two and the latter the louder, but it's all just social media static noise to me.

As for the subrace feats, either offer a couple of options at each of those levels, or separate them out into culture and upbringing. Or both. Why? Because a large part of the complaints has been about your dwarf having to be good at crafting. (On a side note, I've long been a proponent of D&D getting rid of the term Ability for similar, albeit a bit less charged, reasons as why Race was never a good idea. Too vague a term of which the average person's everyday use doesn't line up with the very specific meaning applied in the rules. But I guess this term is considered part of brand identity.)

I think stats need to go back to like AD&D. It didn't watter what you had until you hit I think 15? Then you got a +1. People didn't grub for stat points like they do now.

Seems workable to me.

I also think they could give each race advantage on a check. So orcs and half orcs would be a little better at climbing or carrying stuff, but no better at hitting things or escaping a grapple, and gnomes are a little better at escaping a maze spell, but their spell DC's aren't naturally better, etc.

This experience of AD&D was... not universal.
Im not saying stats werent important to the players, but it was a tad different when every even # got you a +1 and you could near max out a stat no problem at character creation.

I spend more time now maximizing my stats in 5E (and 3rdE etc) than I ever did in 2E.

You wanted another 2 points in DEX? Better find a magic item then.


Gotta look at what you are trying to accomplish. Restrictions, Bonus, or Penalty, wont fly for some people anymore. It doesnt matter how you go about it, if you tie it to race, you wont get buy in.


If I’m reading this correctly, you’re saying that certain races should have different maximum scores, but I don’t think that’s a good thing; especially with the format that WotC is going with nowadays.

It’s like men vs women. Just because men are typically stronger than women doesn’t mean that women can never be stronger than men. Having maximums based on races should work the same way. Maybe you get a boost at the start but that shouldn’t determine your cap.


The problem is the ASI's not the maxima. If I could go back in time to Mike Mearls et al. I would say make ASI's optional and Feats part of the core game.
Given the game we have then the Tasha approach is the best one but I would love if for the revised PHB WoTC took the course here are a bundle of elf, dwarf traits, pick 2 or so at character creation. These traits should be ribbons that do not give much mechanical advantage but make the elf elfier and the dwarf more dwarven and so forth.

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