D&D 5E Cracking 5th Edition Article


So, you think a +1 in a stat is valued as highly by the designers as racial weapons?

+1 in a stat is a big bonus, where some weapons which probably overlap or aren't very useful is more of a ribbon ability.

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This is the main takeaway I had from your article. If we are going to give a +1 to every ability score 36 mp (I love "Mearls" points by the way, very cool) and we are going to give two +1's in the location of the player's choice 12 mp, then right away this system does not work for evaluating the power levels of races.

That's fine if determining the relative power level of races is not your goal, but you seem to make conclusions on power level based on your points totals. I can't agree with the conclusions you make.

...but power-level is exactly what the point system you create doesn't address, because that is based on the strategic use of the abilities gained. Simple admission that +6 to one stat is game-breaking but only worth the same as a standard human demonstrates where the problem lies.

According to your system, you could create a race with +2 to the ability score of your choice and 2 feats. This race would have 36 mp total (lower than most of the races in the PHB, the same as the standard human) but would likely be overshadowing all the other races in actual gameplay. The reason for this is exactly as Mistwell pointed out, every +1 is not equal to every other +1. Some abilities are more for flavor than power and vise-versa. Throw the points into places where there is strategic value and you've got a problem.

There is also some other point values I found strange. For example, elven weapons is worth 6 mp and a cantrip of your choice is worth 4 mp. Do you think that the racial weapons is worth more than a cantrip of your choice? I think the build is rare where this would be the case. Dwarven weapon proficiency likewise 6mp. You valued Light and Medium armor proficiency the same, though I think few would agree they have equal value.

As for the homebrew Eberron races below the racial breakdown, I would say that none of them looked too powerful as far as I was concerned.

Good points!

I will say two things: first, all options are pre-packaged by WOTC so we don't get the +6 to one ability race. We have very specific choices from the company to keep things generally fine.

Second, you're exactly right on the point about whether or not something is balanced being as much a matter of the points as it is context: if you're playing a fighter, you're going to want a Goliath, not a gnome.

Racial weapons: keep in mind that a high elf wizard is just as good with a longsword as a goliath fighter IN PROFICIENCY bonus. That's insane, sure, but it's how 5e works. Keep in mind that we're not judging the strategic value of the longsword. Rather, it's the ability to use something period. Based on the feats to learn X number of weapons, it's logical (even if it's nutty) to value a racial weapons package the same as that feat allowing you to choose X number of weapons.

"Balanced Homebrew": I suppose what I mean is, all things being equal, would that kind of expenditure of mp work as the kind of thing WOTC would publish? If it's approximately 36 to 42 mp of features, then yes. If it's less or more, then no. Plus six to one ability would be too much, you're right. But what about a character who's got advantage against enchantment saves, plus resistance to cold, plus knows how to use four weapons, plus darkvision, plus can read any language? Are those non-numbered choices broken? Are they valuable enough that combined they work out to the same value as Varient human?

Look at it another way: if a variant human chooses a feat that fits with its class and race, that's huge. But if you make a BAD choice, it's sub par. A tank with Sentinel would be more useful than a Lore Bard with Sentinel. To a computer, the choices are equal: one feat is one feat, and two ability boosts, and a skill. That's what I think is going on with 5e math: you've got the values of the traits, and a limited number of points to spend, but the ultimate usefulness of the traits is based on context.

5e is supposed to be about modularity. A race is just a package of mp you can mix and match. I believe a class is, too, level by level; and the feats; and the backgrounds. What WOTC is doing now, with each book they produce, is putting out lots of little packages we can mix and match; but at the core of them, each is built using the same values of mp.

Though some packages use more and some less. Maybe I'm wrong. But it'll be interesting to see if the trend is towards power creep or towards consistency with the core products.

$700 million: Ah! You're right! I misquoted, and will note that when I put up the classes article; and I'll fix it tomorrow (ie: I need sleep). I was looking at an article I'd quoted talking about how the hobby games market was currently valued at seven hundred million, and growing to about one billion dollars. My mix up, and I apologise. :blush::blush::blush: The other article was on how 5e was at the top of Amazon's list for a while; and in my head I mixed up the two. Well, can't be right all the time!


That guy, who does that thing.
I think a lot of folks undervalue the human's '+1 to all ability scores' option -- using the following base array (15,13,12,11,11,11), I can have a human with a 16 prime stat, a 14 secondary stat, a 13 in a third stat for enabling multiclassing and/or feats, and all positive modifiers.

The 'total plus' of +9 on all stat modifiers is tied for the best you can get -- the other +9 array is a base 14 in one stat and 12 in all the rest, with racial mods giving you the final additional +2 in modifiers.

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