D&D (2024) Put initial stat bonus in class not background

Ixal

Hero
In any case, it is the individual character concept that determines where the ability score improvements belong. A statistical average is irrelevant because outliers are outliers.
Its still relevant because, ideally, you are still playing a member of that race and thus are affected by the attributes of said race no matter how relevant or irrelevant they are to your class.
Personally, I resent "agile elves". According to my reallife culture, elves are personifications of fate and magic, and sunlight. Arrows and Dexterity are irrelevant, and belong to the folkbelief of someone elses culture. I dont want someone elses fantasy racism to interfere with my cultural understanding of what an elf is.

If the default ability score improvements are +2 to Intelligence, Charisma, or Wisdom, and +1 to any other, I wouldnt complain. Essentially the elf is a "mental race" that specializes in magic. But this predeterminism would also be wrong, because D&D also has traditions of elves with high Strength and high Dexterity, and there is no reason for any fantasy racism to interfere with these elf concepts either.

Relatedly, D&D has many different kinds of elf. There are 3e Intelligence sun elves, and 4e Intelligence-Charisma eladrin elves. These elves lack Dexterity and are closer to personifications of magic.



Allowing every race to include individual character concepts is a win for the D&D game as a whole.
And yet D&D basically invented the dexterous elf.
And no its not a win for D&D but a huge loss. You lose history, you lose the flavor of different races and you lose the role in role playing because this change signals that WotC is now considering roll playing the default, playing optimized combat stats. Because there is no other reason (except for a minority who think fantasy elves being different from humans is racism) to have floating ability scores except to minmax your combat power and many people on this board have in the end advocated for floating ASI because "it will allow them play different race/class combinations" as for them playing something not optimized is unthinkable (because they would suck and not be competent. Their words...)

Sadly WotC seems to (probably rightly) think there is more money in tactical boardgames instead of RPGs and thats the direction where they are going. Not playing the "elven blacksmith who picked up a blade himself" as a role, but the "+5 attack AC 16 damage dealer" role.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
Its still relevant because, ideally, you are still playing a member of that race and thus are affected by the attributes of said race no matter how relevant or irrelevant they are to your class.
No. That isnt how magic works.



A magically fluid race is magically fluid.

There are many different ways of being an elf, with D&D traditional examples to improve every ability score.

A 5e player can be whatever kind of elf they want to be. And because elves are magic. Whatever the player wants "makes sense".

No one is stopping you from creating a high Dexterity elf.

Other players want other kinds of elf concepts.



And yet D&D basically invented the dexterous elf.
In Original D&D and in Basic D&D, the elf is Strength-Intelligence.

The D&D 1e high elf went with Dexterity to correlate the bow and hiding. However the high elf also needs Strength for longsword. Properly, according to the flavor, the high elf uses magic to hide, not stealth skill checks. 1e intentionally avoided granting mental ability score boosts because they so dramatically empowered spellcasters with extra spells. But flavorwise, the high elf is a mental race with wizardry and high Intelligence. The NPC grey elf has this Intelligence bonus.

D&D has many different kinds of elf concepts with every one of the ability score improvements.



And no its not a win for D&D but a huge loss.
Floating ability scores are a huge loss for racism.

And a huge win for D&D players.



You lose history, you lose the flavor of different races and you lose the role in role playing because this change signals that WotC is now considering roll playing the default, playing optimized combat stats.
All of these different kinds of elf are the same D&D elf race!

The D&D elf race especially has floating ability scores.



Because there is no other reason (except for a minority who think fantasy elves being different from humans is racism) to have floating ability scores except to minmax your combat power and many people on this board have in the end advocated for floating ASI because "it will allow them play different race/class combinations" as for them playing something not optimized is unthinkable (because they would suck and not be competent. Their words...)
I care about flavor first. I require crunch to actualize the flavor during typical gameplay.

I require floating ability scores for narrative reasons. And to adequately represent the history of D&D concepts, as well as unique character concepts.

Free floating ability score improvements benefit me and others.



Sadly WotC seems to (probably rightly) think there is more money in tactical boardgames instead of RPGs and thats the direction where they are going. Not playing the "elven blacksmith who picked up a blade himself" as a role, but the "+5 attack AC 16 damage dealer" role.
Wait. A cookie-cutter race with mechanically racist predeterminism is more like a tactical boardgame, with color coding, and less like a storytelling game where an individual individuates to become ones own person.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
What’s the point of that?
13th Age made gave both racial flavor but also removed sub-optimal choices where what the race didn't match up with any of the ability scores the class needed, allowing playing any race/class combo without penalty. Tasha's eventually did something to meet that goal for 5e a good number of years later, but did it by giving up the racial flavor aspect while 13th Age did both.
 

Branduil

Hero
Its still relevant because, ideally, you are still playing a member of that race and thus are affected by the attributes of said race no matter how relevant or irrelevant they are to your class.

And yet D&D basically invented the dexterous elf.
And no its not a win for D&D but a huge loss. You lose history, you lose the flavor of different races and you lose the role in role playing because this change signals that WotC is now considering roll playing the default, playing optimized combat stats. Because there is no other reason (except for a minority who think fantasy elves being different from humans is racism) to have floating ability scores except to minmax your combat power and many people on this board have in the end advocated for floating ASI because "it will allow them play different race/class combinations" as for them playing something not optimized is unthinkable (because they would suck and not be competent. Their words...)

Sadly WotC seems to (probably rightly) think there is more money in tactical boardgames instead of RPGs and thats the direction where they are going. Not playing the "elven blacksmith who picked up a blade himself" as a role, but the "+5 attack AC 16 damage dealer" role.
Well I think now you are hitting on the real reason for removing racial ASI, but maybe not in the way you think. The issue for many people is not "oh no I can't play a suboptimal character," frankly very few people truly min-max their characters to the fullest degree. The issue is that if someone does decide to play an Elven swordsman, some people seem to think "Ah that's cute! Tremendous roleplaying! (It's funny though because he'll never be as good as a real swordsman." I really don't know how to describe that kind of attitude other than fantasy racism. I mean it's literally saying that someone will always be worse at a job than other races, simply because of their heritage. Obviously being racist against fictional races isn't the same as being racist in real life, but it's pretty obvious why many people have been pushing D&D to move away from that kind of design.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
And as we've talked about before... a bonus +1 to a racial PC stat in no way denotes what kind of a person you are. You can't say "All dwarves are tough!" and then create a dwarf PC with a CON 9 (stat buy 8 + the bonus +1 from a supposed racial bonus). That mechanical +1 in no way accomplishes the narrative ideal the statement "All dwarves are tough" was going for. So there's no point in even giving in to the illusion that it does. Which is why WotC has removed racial bonuses to races.

If a person wants the idea that 7' goliaths should be stronger than 3' halflings just by their size if nothing else... they ONLY way to accomplish that mechanically would be to like set Goliath STR minimums at like 14 and Halfling STR maximums at like 8, so there's never any Halfling that is stronger than a Goliath. But how many people would actually go for that kind of rule if THAT was put in the game?

And you know what's even stupider about a rule like that? Even if the game DID put in a rule that that said Goliaths must have a minimum STR of 14 and Halflings a maximum STR of 8... that's only 3 modifier points of difference! Which means you're STILL going to have contested STR checks where the Halfling in going to best the Goliath in strength more than a third of the time! And thus your whole narrative ideal of "all goliaths are stronger than halflings based on sheer size alone!" gets completely stomped in the mud AGAIN. So attempting to use game mechanics to reflect a narrative ideal fails miserably once more.

This is another one of those times where attempts at modeling any sort of "reality" in D&D are ignored in the rules in order to make the game fun. The game wants and needs the mechanics to be more equitable for the most amount of players. And that means yes, we can and will have clumsy elves, brilliant orcs, sickly dwarves, and strapping halflings. So be it. And if an individual DM doesn't want that for their campaign world... they can set up their own rules for their players to make it happen, rather than demand WotC to do it for them.
 

Ixal

Hero
And as we've talked about before... a bonus +1 to a racial PC stat in no way denotes what kind of a person you are. You can't say "All dwarves are tough!" and then create a dwarf PC with a CON 9 (stat buy 8 + the bonus +1 from a supposed racial bonus). That mechanical +1 in no way accomplishes the narrative ideal the statement "All dwarves are tough" was going for. So there's no point in even giving in to the illusion that it does. Which is why WotC has removed racial bonuses to races.
Wrong, because compared to the CON 8 notdwarf the dwarf is though.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
13th Age made gave both racial flavor but also removed sub-optimal choices where what the race didn't match up with any of the ability scores the class needed, allowing playing any race/class combo without penalty. Tasha's eventually did something to meet that goal for 5e a good number of years later, but did it by giving up the racial flavor aspect while 13th Age did both.
Exactly. It made race/class combos pointless. There’s really a point in having them anymore.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Exactly. It made race/class combos pointless. There’s really a point in having them anymore.
I'm not sure which direction your point is facing.

Personally, my direction is "I enjoy that I am no longer limited in picking froma particular set of races for each class so as not to nerf my character and instead have the freedom to pick from the full list of races for any class". I remember back with AD&D and AD&D 2nd when you just were not allowed to play certain combos, like dwarven wizards, and it was a drag.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Wrong, because compared to the CON 8 notdwarf the dwarf is though.
So you just wants "averages". The "average" dwarf is tougher than the "average" nondwarf. Well guess what? PCs aren't average. You want the "average" dwarf, you go to the Monster Manual where the book can present thousands more "average" dwarves with a simple statblock than the dwarves we get from the Player's Handbook. Cause if the dwarf statblock has their CON set at 12 and the human commoner at 10... pretty sure most people would be fine with that. So let's let the MM do the dirty work and stop demanding the character creation rules attempt to do it but fail miserably.
 

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