D&D General Going back to Basic(s). A thought experiment.

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
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Just for funsies, let's say WotC is going to put out a 2nd line of D&D that trims things to the bone. A simpler streamlined version of D&D with hopes that players will one day ADVANCE to the full game.

My question/the fun:

The book will have 5 races/species/whatever and 5 classes. And before anyone says anything yes I am aware that in old Basic there as just classes as Elf was a class and Dwarf was a class etc, but just go with me on this.

Out of the whole of 5E D&D what would you like to see as the Basic Core Races and Classes?

Let's also apply ONE subclass to represent the whole class. So not just Ranger but Beast Master Ranger as the one and only Ranger in Basic (and possibly filling the only frontline melee slot).

So, 5 classes with 1 attached subclass each and 4 races as we can assume Human is a default choice.

For players:
  • Playbooks
    • Make clear on playbook what stuff is important mechanically, and what stuff is fluff. Like Height weight etc is meaningless.
  • Remove ability scores, use only bonuses
  • Standard array pre-defined per class
  • 4 races, each gets only one feat. What races they are, I don't actually think it matters - maybe give the DM all the current ones; but tell them to limit it to 4
  • Remove Darkvision; OR give everyone darkvision
  • There's only one kind of non-magical damage: "Non-magical damage" or "Mundane damage"
  • Non-combat Equipment is assumed as "you have it, now write it down and subtract one from N" up to N items (I'm not sure which game has this mechanism, but it's elegant and simple and good
  • Spells: no components. No concentration (anything that's concentration is a ritual instead). All spells are defended by saving throws, not by AC (ie, no more Spell Attacks)
  • No skills. DM decides what attribute applies in any given situation and player uses that stat's bonus
  • No Proficiency bonus
  • Get rid of Personality Traits, Ideals and Bonds. KEEP Flaws, see below
  • YES Inspiration but each player starts with 2 per session, and they can give them to their allies (both PC and NPC/creature). It's a simple mechanic that's criminally underused imho.
  • PCs can gain more inspiration by playing their Flaws in a way that is not in their favor.
  • Eliminate Feats
  • Conditions - Reduce or eliminate Conditions. Simply go with Advantage on attacks and Disads on various Saves, and impact to Movement
  • Advancement - XP is very understood by today's modern gamer. For good or ill, most video and computer games have adopted the TTRPG XP concept, and so it's well grokked. Double down on XP, but the current scale is whacky. Go with something simple (our goal!) like 100x your current level to advance. If you are first level, you need 100xp to advance. If you are 2nd level, you need an additional 200xp to advance.
  • Get rid of Spell slots. Give each spellcaster a certain number of power points, and each spell costs a certain number of points. Easy peasy, simple dimple
  • Get rid of complicated formulas for calculating how many spells a PC can know/prepare/memorize
  • Use the word level judiciously. Stop using it for Spells. Please?
For DMs
  • Monsters
    • Remove Invulnerability, use only Resistances
    • Since we removed skills for PCs, remove those for monsters too
    • Since we removed proficiency for PCs, remove the "saving throw" line, since that is basically the ability score plus the notional "proficiency" the monster gets
    • Remove Alignment for monsters
    • Give monsters a "Powers" section for attacks, a section for defenses, and a section for "other specials"
    • Magic using monsters - remove spell lists, provide a few iconic powers instead
  • ADD 5-10 word "motivation" sentence to each monster so DM knows how it behaves outside of combat
  • ADD 2-3 bullet points on "tactics" for what monster will typically do in combat (one of the best things about 4e!)
  • Eliminate in official BD&D (or whatever this edition is called) adventures any description of monetary treasure that isn't currency. Honestly, nobody cares if there's an obsidian statue of a jackal headed monkey if it has no bearing on the current adventure as a clue. Just say "various treasures and trinkets worth 25gp".
I'm running out of steam, but there's a ton of opportunity to make the newbie DM's life easier too

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I think the answer for me is pretty obvious of how I’d do it because I already did with Bugbears and Borderlands 😉

As I say in my forward, even though there technically is an official basic version, I don’t consider it truly basic because it’s all the same full set of mechanics and rules, just hardly any PC options.

I stripped the rules down to the very basic, including getting rid of ability scores and only using modifiers.



Victoria Rules
For races, just remove all mechanics and let players choose whatever creature they want for cosmetic reasons.
And so it ends: all playable species become the same.

In that case, why have more than one playable species in the first place? Just think of all the page count you could save. :)

The Sigil

Mr. 3000 (Words per post)
The book will have 5 races/species/whatever and 5 classes. And before anyone says anything yes I am aware that in old Basic there as just classes as Elf was a class and Dwarf was a class etc, but just go with me on this.

So, 5 classes with 1 attached subclass each and 4 races as we can assume Human is a default choice.
I'll play your game, you rogue.

IMO what this needs to be after is one class that attempts to showcase the various D&D mechanics (in approximately the order in which I feel they should be included). Thus:

1. Fighter - Champion
2. Cleric - Life Domain
3. Rogue - Thief
4. Wizard - School of Evocation
5. Bard - College of Lore

1. Human
2. Dwarf
3. Halfling
4. Elf
5. Gnome


1. Fighter - Champion (showcases the basic weapon/armor Mechanics, usually emphasizes the Strength ability score, part of the Tank/DPS/Healer trinity in most current games - usually as the Tank but could be DPS based on build, so easy for new players to understand the niche quickly)
2. Cleric - Life Domain (showcases divine magic and with prepared spells in the life domain, the cleric fills the niche of healer, something most new players are used to from the Tank/DPS/Healer form of many games; the cleric's armor also provides a front-line semi-tank type at low levels, usually emphasizes the Wisdom ability score).
3. Rogue - Thief (showcases physical skills but also showcases alternate combat style in Sneak Attack and alternate magic style with Use Magic Device, usually emphasizes the Dexterity ability score; completes the gamer holy trinity of tank/DPS/Healer as the DPS)
4. Wizard - School of Evocation (Chosen because it is the only class that showcases the Intelligence ability score; there are several classes that utilize Charisma; it's also a classic "blast mage" which many players like - if there were more classes that ran on Intelligence, I'd probably rather go with Sorcerer as the classic Arcane Caster since it's simpler to just have "Known Spells" than "Prepared Spells" but showcasing each ability score is important to me for the purposes of this exercise).
5. Bard - College of Lore (Emphasizes the Charisma score, users "Known Spells" spellcasting instead of "Prepared Spells" so it showcases the Magic System in a different way, Bardic Inspiration gives you a second flavor of "Support" besides the Cleric)

1. Human - You need a familiar default against which the other races can be contrasted. All players should be familiar with at least one human and probably a lot more.
2. Dwarf - I couldn't showcase Constitution in a class, so let's showcase it in a race instead. They also introduce the "darkvision" mechanic which almost every non-human race seems to be gifted with these days, so let's use the dwarves to introduce it and rationalize it ("they live underground and this is how their eyes evolved to see in the dark"). Also introduces the Speed mechanic and how it may vary among creatures.
3. Halfling - Introduces the rules for different sized creatures with a race most new players will quickly recognize as familiar (hobbits).
4. Elf - Because they've been a fantasy staple for centuries. While I personally find them somewhat insufferable, large numbers of players, especially new players, love elves. They also carry on the darkvision dwarves introduced and also make "innate cantrips" - another popular feature of expansion races - intuitive for new players to understand since elves are traditionally magically inclined.
5. Gnome - Reinforces darkvision (dwarves), size (halflings), and introduces "custom tinkery items" - most new players want the ability to make cool stuff and this gives some nice starting points for unusual gear a player might want to carry.


Who didn't make the cut:
  • Barbarian - Doesn't showcase the basic Weapons combat system as well as the Fighter does. Rage is fun, but not a mechanic uses elsewhere. The armorless and mobility mechanics are also showcased by the Monk, but the Monk probably does them better and would make the cut before the Barbarian would anyway.
  • Druid - Class is interesting, but Life Cleric's ability to easily fill the familiar "Healer" role makes the Cleric the better Wisdom-showcase class. Also, ability to shapeshift into an animal causes a lot of complexity in role play situations which is undesirable for new DMs.
  • Monk - Has his own custom system for unarmed combat that nobody else uses. Class is high on "cool" factor, and super-mobility is an interesting mechanic, but the class does not showcase BASIC mechanics, especially in the way the Fighter does.
  • Paladin - Class has always been kind of a Cleric/Fighter Gish. As initially implemented, class was a good way to draw bright lines for "good guys" (desirable in a beginner game) but over the past few revisions, has strayed far from its LG origins (yes, I know, alignment isn't a thing any more) and thus its utility of drawing good guy/bad guy lines is diminished - and that gain for RPG vets is a loss for RPG newbs.
  • Ranger - See Barbarian. Animal Companion might be interesting, but it amounts to controlling two characters instead of one and this increases the complexity. That's not a "Basic" thing.
  • Sorcerer - Would be on the list as the classic Arcane Caster if there was another Int-based class as mentioned above (would have put at #2 as I think this class showcases the easiest learn of the D&D magic system but Bardic casting, which used to be Sorcerer-lite is now near Sorcerer levels of power and the bard has more going on mechanically IMO)
  • Warlock - I wouldn't hate swapping out the Bard and using the Warlock as the Charisma-based class; however, the Warlock's spellcasting mechanics are a bit niche - again, you want to showcase "Basic Class mechanics" that get used again for when your Basic players are ready for more options. The Bard prepares players for the greater spell variety (and metamagic) sorcerers offer as "Known Spell" casters, the Warlock not so much. (While I love the flavor of the warlock, I find the mechanics of the warlock extremely clunky and limiting).

  • Dragonborn - Totally alien races aren't my cup of tea in a Basic setup. You want things to start as simple deviations from human (dwarves are dour, stocky humans with beards, elves are flighty, skinny humans with pointy ears, etc.) Dragonborn are to me too alien and their proximity to dragons - traditional creatures of great power - makes me uncomfortable with them for "basic" play. In addition, creatures that are too alien in appearance either require a world with tolerance levels that are so high as to be remarked upon or with tolerance levels that are low enough that you're going to have some racist clashes. Either one of these is likely to spark uncomfortable political conversations about racism in the real world and while those are worthy conversations to have with mature adults, they're off-putting enough to some that the very discussion itself will poison their view of the game. A "Basic" game is introductory and should steer away from such controversy. That stuff is probably better-suited to later expansions once people are in the RPG fold and have more open minds and are accustomed to RPGs - like other fantasy - being a vehicle through which we can safely explore sensitive topics we might not be able to directly address in the real world as easily.
  • Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Tiefling - In this house, we obey the laws of genetics. Also, Basic play usually means introductory play which usually means younger players... the origins of these races become progressively trickier to explain to younger players (who wants to explain when the ten-year old realizes that his tiefling's Grandparent had sexual congress with a devil/demon and asks about it)? Explaining to mature adults? Sure. But for the sake of Basic rules we have to consider that to some degree there will be an aim at a younger crowd and those kinds of discussions can lead to bad press with some parents.
  • More exotic creatures - besides access to abilities that can break a new DM (Aarakocra get flight, anyone), for the most part more exotic player races raise issues already discussed under Dragonborn or Half-Races above - they're usually either too alien for a new player to relate to OR discussing ancestry may lead to some uncomfortable conversations. Save them for non-Basic products.
(Yes, basically my complaint on all the other races is they may lead to conversations about race and/or sex. I don't object to having these conversations among mature adults, but very often a "Basic" product will involve participants that are not mature adults and these participants - or their parents - tend to find these conversations objectionable, so I think it's a good idea to steer clear of such things in a "Basic" product. You want a Basic product to not only be "vanilla" in rules, but also need to walk the line between being "compelling enough to draw people in" without "making too many choices that will offend segments of your potential audience" - to some degree, then, "vanilla" in themes and story.)
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Assuming that we are just picking from current option instead of designing bespoke options for this, I think following would be a good set:

Human, Variant
Elf, Wood
Halfling, Lightfoot

Fighter, Battle Master
Rogue, Thief
Cleric, Life
Wizard, Necromancer
Barbarian, Totem Warrior

Li Shenron

And so it ends: all playable species become the same.

In that case, why have more than one playable species in the first place? Just think of all the page count you could save. :)
Well, if the purpose is reducing complexity, then having no mechanics attached to your playable species goes towards the purpose. But the narrative side of the species can remain. I used this idea more than once when playing one-session adventures or with casual gamers anyway, while other times I have only reduced the mechanics (for example to 1 or 2 per playable species), but players still seemed to like choosing different creatures for the narrative.


A suffusion of yellow
Well, if the purpose is reducing complexity, then having no mechanics attached to your playable species goes towards the purpose. But the narrative side of the species can remain. I used this idea more than once when playing one-session adventures or with casual gamers anyway, while other times I have only reduced the mechanics (for example to 1 or 2 per playable species), but players still seemed to like choosing different creatures for the narrative.

1 So human
2 short grumpy humanish miner
3 really short nimble human
4 skinny fey/fiendish human
5a big humanish brute
5b wannabe dragon but more human


Steeliest of the dragons
Hmm...I'm not sure what the point of a single subclass is. The point of the subclasses -as they are now used/understood- is to provide options for character archetypes. Just one isn't/can't do that.

So you'd want a "default/no subclass" for each of your base classes, and then a particular "flavor" of that base class as your single subclass option for a "different/specific" kind of that class.

Working with the "5" as a theme...something along these lines...

The Cleric:
1st lvl: +2 to all saves. Channel Divinity (level times per day): +2 to AC and saves for all allies within 15' radius. 2nd lvl: Divine Magic - tier I. 3rd lvl: Channel Divinity: Turn Undead. 4th lvl: +1 to hit with attacks (with weapon or spell). Divine Magic - tier II. 5th level: +3 to all saves. Channel: +3 to AC and ally saves within 30' radius.
Divine Magic: 2nd level: 1 Tier I spell per day. 3rd level: 2 Tier I spells/day. 4th level: 3 Tier I spells & 1 Tier II/day. 5th level: 4 Tier I spells & 2 Tier II spells per day. Plus 1 bonus spell per day for each Wisdom bonus point. Spells must be a tier you an cast.
--The Crusader Cleric: 1st lvl: +1 to all saves and AC. Channel Divinity (level times per day): Righteous Smite +d6 to damage (x2 vs. undead or extraplanar Evil creatures). 2nd lvl: +1 to weapon attacks. 3rd lvl: Channel Divinity: Righteous Smite now does 2d6 added damage or Lay on Hands -heal a total of up d6 per level HP per day (may be divided among as many channels as the templar wants, but can not exceed their # of Channels per day). 4th lvl: +2 to weapon attacks, saves, and AC. 5th lvl: Channel: Righteous Smite now adds 3d6 damage. Lay on Hands now allows 2d6 per level HP of healing per day.

The Fighter: 1st level: +2 to hit on melee attacks (weapons or unarmed). Power Attack (level times per day): +d6 to damage. 2nd level: "Battle Stamina/Second Wind" mechanic, restore d8 + Con bonus, once per day. 3rd level: +2 to any Str, Con, or Dex checks and saves. 4th level: Second Wind twice per day. 5th level: +3 to hit and damage any weapon/unarmed attack. +3 to Str/Con/Dex checks and saves. Second Wind mechanic now restores 2d6 + Con.
--The Defender Fighter: 1st level: +1 to hit on melee attacks, +1 to AC. Take the Hit (level times per day): Absorb/deflect (must hit your AC) 1 attack on ally/innocent within 10' of you. 2nd: Second Wind, as above. 3rd: +2 to hit or damage (player's choice per round) and +2 to AC. 4th: Second Wind, 2 per day, as above. 5th: +2 to hit and damage, +3 to AC. Take the Hit can now absorb two attacks per round (vs. same ally or different ones, still limited to level uses per day), within 15' of you. Second Wind, as above.

The Mage: 1st level: Arcane Magic - choose 3 tier I spells for your grimoire. Magic-User (level times per day): +2 to saves against any spell or magical effect/attack. 2nd lvl: +1 to hit with or save DC of all magic attacks. 3rd lvl: Arcane Magic - choose 2 tier II spells for your grimoire. 4th: +2 to hit with or save DC of all magic attacks. 5th lvl: Arcane Magic - choose 1 tier III spell for your grimoire. Magic-user is now +3 to all magic saves.
--The Evoker Mage: 1st lvl: Arcane Magic - tier I, as above. Empower Spell (level times per day): +2 to hit with or save DC of spell attack, and add 5' to range or area of effect per level. 2nd lvl: Substitute Spell - once per day you can swap out a spell you have memorized to shape the energy into Magic Missile or Shield (even if you do not have the spell in your grimoire). 3rd lvl: Arcane Magic - tier II, as above. 4th: Sorcerous Strike - add d6 magic energy damage to any spell or weapon attack you make. 5th: Arcane Magic- tier III, as above. Empowered Spell is now +3 to hit or save DC, damage dealing spells add additional damage die. You can now Substitute Spell 3 times per day.
Arcane Magic: 1st level: Cast 2 Tier I spells per day. 2nd level: 3 Tier I spells/day. 3rd level: 3 Tier I & 1 Tier II/day. 4th level: 4 Tier I & 2 Tier II/per day. 5th level: 4 Tier I, 3 Tier II, & 2 Tier 3 per day. Plus 1 bonus spell per day for each Intelligence bonus point. Spells must be a tier you an cast.

The Sentinel: 1st level: +2 to hit with 1 ranged and 1 melee weapon of choice. Sorcerous Strike (level times per day): add d6 magic energy damage to your weapon attack. 2nd lvl: Arcane Magic - tier I. 3rd lvl: Second Wind, as 2nd level Fighter. 4th lvl: Arcane Magic - tier II. 5th lvl: +3 to hit with any weapon attack. Sorcerous Strike now adds 2d6 damage. Second Wind as 4th level Fighter.
Sentinel Spell Progression: 2nd level: 1 Tier I spell per day. 3rd level: 2 Tier I spells/day. 4th level: 3 Tier I spells & 1 Tier II/day. 5th level: 4 Tier I spells & 2 Tier II spells per day. Plus 1 bonus spell per day for each Intelligence bonus point. Spells must be a tier you an cast.
--The Ranger Sentinel: 1st level: +2 to hit with 1 ranged and 1 melee weapon of choice, and any Dexterity- or Constitution-based checks/saves. Marked Strike (level times per day): add d6 to damage against a target you select as your "Marked quarry." Once chosen, the mark can not be changed until they have been defeated (slain, retreated, or surrendered). 2nd lvl: Second Wind, as 2nd level Fighter. 3rd lvl: Strider: add +2 to any roll to find and follow trails/tracks of a target you choose, you are not slowed by difficult terrain, and add +2 to saves against unnatural/effects causing difficult terrain. 4th lvl: Magic Adept - choose 3 cantrips, 2 Tier I, and 1 Tier II spell from the Arcane or Divine spell lists. You cast these spells 1 + your modifier for Intelligence (for (Arcane spells) or Wisdom (Divine spells) per day. Once chosen, these spells can not be changed. 5th lvl: +3 to hit with all weapon attacks, Dex- and Con-checks/saves. Marked Strike is now 2d6.

The Thief: 1st level: +2 to hit with ranged or simple weapon attacks, all Dexterity-based checks/saves, and Rogue Tricks rolls. Cunning Guile (level times per day): +2 to deceive, flatter, intimidate or otherwise influence interactions with others. 2nd lvl: Sneak Attack: +2 to hit and add d6 against a target if after a successful Stealthy Move (prior to your attack) or against a target otherwise engaged in combat/distracted from your approach. 3rd lvl: Cunning Guile is now +3 and can be used to add bonus to a Rogue Trick roll. 4th lvl: Sneak Attack is now +3 to hit and +2d6 damage. 5th lvl:. +3 to ranged attacks, all Dexterity-based checks/saves, and Rogue Trick rolls. Cunning Guile is now +4.
--The Acrobat Thief: 1st lvl: +2 to hit with ranged and simple weapon attack, Dex. checks/saves. Uncanny Acrobatics (level times per day): +2 to any save against a threat, trap or directed attack that can be physically avoided (weapons, spells, breath weapon, pit trap, etc...) resulting in your position moving a minimum of 10'-20' (d2 x 10). 2nd lvl: Rogue Tricks, as above (+2). 3rd lvl: Acrobatics is +3. 4th lvl: Evasion - take no damage instead of half on a successful save roll (including using Roll with It). 5th lvl: +3 to ranged attacks, all Dexterity-based saves/checks, and Rogue's Tricks. Acrobatics is now +4.
Rogue Tricks: Add bonus to the roll equal to the Thief's level (plus the indicated ability modifier):
Agility: (Strength or Dexterity, DM's call to situation) climb vertical surfaces and move unhindered (half speed) along narrow, slippery, or otherwise precarious/difficult surfaces.
Sleight of Hand: (Dexterity) pick pockets, palm small objects, or other mundane uses of legerdemain.
Locks & Traps: (Dexterity or Intelligence, DM's call to situation) find, disarm and/or dismantle mechanical locks or traps.
Roll with It: (Strength or Constitution, DM's call to situation) reduce damage from a successful attack by d6 (rolls exceeding the damage taken on a given attack is lost)
Stealthy Moves: (Intelligence or Wisdom, DM's call to situation) move silently, pass unnoticed ("blend in," including to follow someone - "tail"- unnoticed), or hide in shadows or elsewhere.

Cleric Level 3: Turn Skeletons, Zombies, Shadows. 30' radius.
Level 4: Turn Ghouls, Ghasts, Wraiths. Destroy Skeletons, Zombies. 40' radius.
Level 5: Turn Mummies, Spectres, Vampires. Destroy Shadows, Ghouls. 50' radius

Bless: +1, and counts as magic, for your and/or other's attacks. 1 person per level.
Cure Wounds I: Heal d8 + Wisdom modifier HP.
Light: shed light to 20' radius.
Sanctuary: 10' radius forcefield that blocks physcial and magic attacks.
Shield of Faith: +2 your and/or other's AC. 1 person per level.
TIER II: Cure Poison: remove d6 HP and/or halt further poison damage
Cure Wounds II: Heal 2d8 + Wisdom modifier HP.
Hold Person: halt 1 medium humanoid or normal animal target per level, 2 per level for small humanoids/creatures, 1 per 2 levels for large humanoids and/or giant animals.
Silence: cancel sound for 20' radius.
Spiritual Weapon: attack 1 target per level, per round, within a 20' radius of the cleric, successful hit deals d6 magic damage.

Your magical training permits you to use the following minor magics ("Cantrips") at will: Detect Magic (sense magic - creatures, items, places- within 50' of you), Detect Evil (sense Evil -creatures, items, places- within a 50' of you), Light (shed illumination 20' radius), Protection Circle (stop Evil beings from being able to near/touch you, 10' radius), Resist Fire/Cold (+1 to save against magical fire or cold/ice attacks, natural high/low temperatures can not harm you).
The following Tier I spells must be selected/found/recorded/prepared individually:
Burning/Freezing Hands: deal d6 fire or ice (player's choice at casting) damage to all targets within a 20' arc up to 20' away, + 5' range and wider arc per level.
Featherfall: halt your fall/decent to a safe landing.
Magic Missile: unerring bolt of magical energy deals d6 HP of magic damage, 1 bolt per level per casting.
Shield: provide 5' diameter per level forcefield "disc" that blocks physical and magical/energy attacks. Can create a dome (up to 15' diameter +5' per level after) at 3rd level. Can create a full sphere (up to 25' diameter) at 5th.
Sleep: put targets within 20' of caster into deep slumber.
TIER II: Charm Person/Animal: place targets under your control, thinking caster is a good friend, up to total of level targets per casting.
Wizard's Knock/Lock: magically open or seal portals.
Levitate: raise/move/lower 10' per round in any direction, up to level targets per casting.
Mirror Image: create illusionary duplicates, d4 + level images appearing around/adjacent to you.
Web: ensnare targets within a 20' diameter up to 20' away from caster.
TIER III: Dispel Magic: cancel/undo magical effects on a person, item, or place.
Fireball: deal d6 per level of fire damage to all targets in 20' radius, centered up to 50' away from caster.
Fly: move up to 60' per round through the air, any direction and hover, up to level targets per casting.
Lightning Bolt: deals d6 per level of lightning damage to all targets along a 50' long, up to 10' wide, line from caster.
Tongues: as many targets as caster selects within 30' radius understand and can speak each other's languages.

+1 to Prime Ability, +2 to player's choice of Craft, +1 to 2 skills of player's choice, +2 to attack with 1 weapon of choice, Speak Common + languages equal to Intelligence modifier of players choice.
Dwarf: Darkvision, Stonecraft, +2 to Toughness, +1 to attack with hammer/sword/axe, Speak Dwarf, Common, Giant.
Elf: Lowlight Vision, Woodcraft, +2 to Perception, +1 to attack with bow/sword or spell, Speak Elf, Common, Orc, Sylvan.
Gnome: Lowlight Vision, Dweomercraft, +2 to Lore, +1 to attack with dagger/sling or spell, Speak Gnome, Common, Goblin, Sylvan
Orc: Darkvision, Warcraft, +2 to Athletics, +1 to attack with sword/axe/spear, Speak Orc, Common, Goblin.

SKILLS - Physical (DM decides which ability is appropriate to the situation, if multiple abilities possible)
Agility (Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity): dodge an attack, slink through narrow openings, balance/reflexes, escape a Grapple, etc...
Athletics (Strength, Constitution or Dexterity): swim across a river, ride a horse, throw/catch, engage in contests of physical prowess, etc...
Grapple (Strength): grab/hold someone to prevent their movement or (normally, physical) actions.
Nimble (Dexterity): assist in hand-eye coordination, manual skills (writing/drawing/sewing, etc...), manipulate objects, etc...
Toughness (Constitution): endure harsh temperatures, overcome fatigue, run a long distance, etc...

SKILLS - Mental (DM decides, as above)
Gather Information (Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma): find information on a given topic, get information from talking to people, look things up in a library, etc...
Insight (Wisdom): read other people's motivations, determine emotional states, notice deceit, etc...
Lore (Intelligence): know/have learned something about a given topic.
Perception (Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma): notice things around you.
Persuasion (Charisma): interact with and influence others to arrive at an outcome you want, use deception, intimidate, appeal to others' sense of honor, etc...

identify and use magic items, identify spells, use spell scrolls, or other magical effects on a person/place/thing.
Stonecraft: identify sloping passages (direction, up or down) and crafted vs. natural stone, adept with mansonry, mining, and engineering stone structures, move at normal speed in rocky/mountainous or subterranean surroundings, know direction while moving/working underground.
Tradecraft: choose a type of profession or business in which you have experience and apply +2 bonus to actions/feats involving that area: Astronomy, Blacksmithing, Weaving, Cooking, Diplomacy, Farming, etc...
Warcraft: identify and appraise the make and quality of armor and weapons, determine if/when danger is in your immediate area, observe weaknesses in your opponents attacks, strategize battleplans and tactics.
Woodcraft: identify flora and fauna, adept with tracking, hunting/foraging, and survival in wooded/wilderness environs, move at normal speed through forested areas and undergrowth, know direction in natural - above ground - surroundings.

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