D&D 5E D&D Q&A: 09/27/2013

Warunsun

First Post
I like the human ability modifiers for their simplicity. It's just that I don't like the fact that it makes the humans, as a race, as graceful as elves, as tough as dwarves as strong as dragonborn, etc. The flavour created by the ability score modifiers doesn't suit me and, I suspect, many others.
But it doesn't make humans as graceful as elves (they get speed increases by 5 feet), nor are they tough as dwarves (hit point maximum increases by 1 every level), nor strong as dragonborn (breath weapon and damage resistance-yikes!). The flavor of races comes from the description and the ancillary extraordinary racial abilities.
 

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Klaus

First Post
But it doesn't make humans as graceful as elves (they get speed increases by 5 feet), nor are they tough as dwarves (hit point maximum increases by 1 every level), nor strong as dragonborn (breath weapon and damage resistance-yikes!). The flavor of races comes from the description and the ancillary extraordinary racial abilities.

It does make a human as agile as a high elf, as capable of carrying burden as a dragonborn, as resilient to damage as a mountain dwarf, etc.

But more importantly, it's boring. It's math you do once and forget.
 

Warunsun

First Post
But more importantly, it's boring. It's math you do once and forget.

I think you missed the point. The human race gets absolutely nothing else unless you count the extra language. They need something as a race and the flat +1 abilities shows their adaptability and superiority. It may be boring but humans don't have ancillary extraordinary racial abilities. Can you imagine if they gave humans weird/new race powers? Folks would be against that in even stronger numbers.
 

Klaus

First Post
I think you missed the point. The human race gets absolutely nothing else unless you count the extra language. They need something as a race and the flat +1 abilities shows their adaptability and superiority. It may be boring but humans don't have ancillary extraordinary racial abilities. Can you imagine if they gave humans weird/new race powers? Folks would be against that in even stronger numbers.

I understand the intent perfectly (it's there in place of a blanket +1 to all skill checks). But that just makes humans feel genetically superior to all other races, and it does nothing to show the diversity of humankind (something the bonus feats in 3e and 4e helped emulate).

And race powers need not be "weird/new". Stuff dealing with adaptability and survivability fit humans perfectly. Stuff like:
- Resourceful. Choose one ability. You are proficienct in saving throws with that ability.
- Action Surge. You can take one additional action in a round. After you use this ability, you must take a long rest before using it again.
- Adaptable. When you make a saving throw, you can choose to have advantage. After you use this ability, you must take a long rest before using it again.
- Ability Score Increase: choose one ability score and increase by 2, or choose two ability scores and increase each by 1. If feats are used in your game, you may trade this benefit for a feat.
 

Zaruthustran

The tingling means it’s working!
I understand the intent perfectly (it's there in place of a blanket +1 to all skill checks). But that just makes humans feel genetically superior to all other races, and it does nothing to show the diversity of humankind (something the bonus feats in 3e and 4e helped emulate).

I see that as feature, not bug. Humans are simply better; that's why they win. That's why human cultures are the dominant cultures by default. In most campaigns dwarves and elves are in decline, halflings and gnomes are ancilary, and humans are the presumed inheritors of the world.

Showing Diversity: with +1 to all, humans can excel at anything. The other races can excel at their niches, but anything a human sets his mind to, he can be just as effective. Again: I see that as a feature, not bug. It mechanically supports how humans win.

They overcome their lack of special abilities--no special vision, no racial magic or proficiencies, no unique powers--with technology and applied inherent talent.
 

Klaus

First Post
Humans are simply better; that's why they win.

And here we must fundamentally disagree. Humans aren't "simply better". They have the shortest lifespans, no special eyesight, no inherent magical talent. They are the underdogs that rise to the occasion. They don't win because they are superior, they win because of their tenacity.
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
It's so easy to be speciesist [within what I know is a fictional world], and to assume that humans need to be the default winer. No one has conceptual difficulties getting what an elf or an dwarf is. We accept that it's not going to be a fundamentally different experience than playing a human (for a game that makes it a fundamentally different experience, see Burning Wheel).

Given those parameters, I would like them to treat humans with the same respect (demonstrated through the creative application of thought), as they demonstrate to every other playable PC race.*

From that perspective,

Stuff like:
- Resourceful. Choose one ability. You are proficienct in saving throws with that ability.
- Action Surge. You can take one additional action in a round. After you use this ability, you must take a long rest before using it again.
- Adaptable. When you make a saving throw, you can choose to have advantage. After you use this ability, you must take a long rest before using it again.
- Ability Score Increase: choose one ability score and increase by 2, or choose two ability scores and increase each by 1. If feats are used in your game, you may trade this benefit for a feat.

is a great, flavourful list, and I would prefer it to the flat +1 across the board.

There are many possible solutions, and I respect the idea that Zarathustran raises, that this is simply showing humans as better. I don't buy it, though, partly for mechanical reasons (if the completely arbitrary 3-18 doesn't represent the human norm, then what is it pointing to?) and partly for story ones (bland genetic superiority is not a story I care about).



*except the half-elf. Don't get me started.
 

Zaruthustran

The tingling means it’s working!
Good points, particularly about the story's blandness.

Giving humans the same treatment as every other class--a mix of ability modifiers and special abilities--is certainly a viable way to go. Out of Klaus's list, I like the free feat the best. Single-use abilities and saving-throw-based abilities don't feel right.

What does feel right? Forgive the genre-buster, but for me it'd have to be based on the classic arguments on behalf of humanity, as delivered by Captains Kirk and Picard. I know, I know, but somehow that's what feels right.

So maybe an ability that keys off those speeches, and Klaus's suggestion. Tenacity. An ability that gives a bonus to death saves, or adv on rolls when reduced to less than 1/4 max HP. "humans need conflict, need challenge", "our capacity to feel pain is what makes us human", that sort of thing. Humans at their best when they are pressed the hardest. I could get behind a racial power that reflects that.
 

Klaus

First Post
Good points, particularly about the story's blandness.

Giving humans the same treatment as every other class--a mix of ability modifiers and special abilities--is certainly a viable way to go. Out of Klaus's list, I like the free feat the best. Single-use abilities and saving-throw-based abilities don't feel right.

What does feel right? Forgive the genre-buster, but for me it'd have to be based on the classic arguments on behalf of humanity, as delivered by Captains Kirk and Picard. I know, I know, but somehow that's what feels right.

So maybe an ability that keys off those speeches, and Klaus's suggestion. Tenacity. An ability that gives a bonus to death saves, or adv on rolls when reduced to less than 1/4 max HP. "humans need conflict, need challenge", "our capacity to feel pain is what makes us human", that sort of thing. Humans at their best when they are pressed the hardest. I could get behind a racial power that reflects that.

Yes, this jives perfectly with how I see humanity's strengths.
 

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