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D&D 4E Race Matters more in 4e?

ehren37

Explorer
I'm somewhat concerned about this snippet of information

""In the final version of 4th Edition, most of your racial traits come into play right out of the gate at 1st level—dwarven resilience, elven evasion, a half-elf’s inspiring presence, and so on. As you go up levels, you can take racial feats to make those abilities even more exciting and gain new capabilities tied to your race. You can also take race-specific powers built into your class, which accomplish a lot of what racial substitution levels used to do: a dwarf fighter with the friend of earth power can do something that other 10th-level fighters just can’t do.""

Mainly that each race is more strongly tied to a niche. That half-elves will be the "social race", dwarves will be the "tank race", etc. That by choosing something other than the "best fit" race, you'll end up penalized for daring to play against stereotypes. 3.5 did a decent job of allowing people to play against type precisely because the race changes didn't make a colossal difference. Yeah, your half-orc wizard had a -2 Int, but really you could make an effecitve wizard of any race. It let people create a character they wanted, rather than feel they were being nudged in a direction due to their race.

I;m all for making race an interesting choice. For making the races play differently and for having different fighting styles and tactics by race. I'm just concerned that in the end, we'll have elves be the uber wizards, halflings the uber rogues, and of course humans back to their 1e roots of being useless.
 

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JVisgaitis

First Post
ehren37 said:
I'm somewhat concerned about this snippet of information

I think they'll me enough options among the classes to make this a non-issue, but I can see what your saying. However, I think they are smart enough to not further pigeon-hole the races. If you get the same boatload of powers up front and have more options with Feat choices along the way, you're not required to take them. We'll have to see how it works out, but I think it'll be OK.
 

Klaus

First Post
The races will become pretty much the Bloodlines in Unearthed Arcana (but without the giving up on levels).

It won't penalize oddball characters any more than the current edition. Say elves get evasion. An elf fighter will have evasion, giving him a reason to go with light armor. An elf wizard will be frail, but will have a decent chance of surviving a fireball.

As another example, say a half-orc gets "rage 1/day" as a racial feature. Even if you play a half-orc wizard, your half-orc wizard will be able to fly into a furious frenzy once per day, and there could possibly be a way for his wizard side to benefit from it (turning a half-orc wizard into a rage mage?).

All conjectures, really.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
My main concern isn't with the fact that they are typing the races -- I think the mechanics will be sound and flexible. My concern is that, other than dwarves, I don't think WotC has the same definition of the races as I do.

Half-elves as the social masters has always seemed a bit contrived to me. They have to get along with both races, so they're charismatic? Um... go ask someone of mixed black and white parentage if they find they are better able to work with both blacks and whites. In an area where race matters (thankfully we aren't in 1890 anymore), I would say that any need to improve charisma is only to offset circumstance modifiers for bigotry. Totally not something I want introduced into my core rules, but the "charisma bonus" begs the question of why they develop it.

And "elven evasion"? Wasn't one of the big complaints about elves in 3E that elves were archetypal wizards, but statistically sucked at it? Why not actually address what the players want?

Things are still in playtest and development, so I hope that at least elves are fixed. Still, the inclusion of tiefling in the PHB and these early indicators of what the other races will be like has me quite concerned that WotC will end up exactly where I put Malhavoc. Which is to say, some really, really great rules systems that support flavor I don't care for.
 

amethal

Adventurer
I'm really excited by it.

The only thing I wonder about, is that its apparently replacing level adjustments.

If we assume that the outside limit of "playable" LA races is +5, does this mean that by the time they reach 30th level the standard races will be the equivalent of a +5 LA so they can match the more exotic ones?
 

jasin

First Post
Hopefully, there will be dwarf abilities that are class-independent and/or targetted at classes other than the obvious default choice for the class.

So there might be a dwarven ability that lets you use smite once per encounter after spending 3 rounds in contact with the ground without moving 5 ft. Not very useful for a wizard.

But there might be a dwarven ability that you Empower a spell for free once per encoutner after spending 3 rounds in contact with the ground without moving 5 ft. (In fact these might two uses of the same ability.) Useful for a wizard!

And there might be a dwarven ability that grants you DR 1/- per 5 levels. More or less useful for everyone.

At least that's what I hope to see.
 

JVisgaitis

First Post
Mercule said:
My main concern isn't with the fact that they are typing the races -- I think the mechanics will be sound and flexible. My concern is that, other than dwarves, I don't think WotC has the same definition of the races as I do.

Gotcha. Well, we'll see what comes of it. I just hope they aren't typed and there is some flexibility in there. For the record I hope they kill all the half races. Half orcs, half elves, et al. should be stricken from the face of D&D. I'm tired of the racial connotations associated with the half races. The whole we don't fit in is tiresome. A half race should use the full mechanics from one or the other and the player comes up with the look.
 

ColonelHardisson

What? Me Worry?
Mercule said:
And "elven evasion"? Wasn't one of the big complaints about elves in 3E that elves were archetypal wizards, but statistically sucked at it? Why not actually address what the players want?

Maybe they did, or will (as you yourself note). We don't know everything elves will have, just what they'll have in regards to direct physical combat.
 

broghammerj

Explorer
JVisgaitis said:
Gotcha. Well, we'll see what comes of it. I just hope they aren't typed and there is some flexibility in there. For the record I hope they kill all the half races. Half orcs, half elves, et al. should be stricken from the face of D&D. I'm tired of the racial connotations associated with the half races. The whole we don't fit in is tiresome. A half race should use the full mechanics from one or the other and the player comes up with the look.

I would disagree. Tanis half elven from Dragonlance seemed to really exemplify the "half elf" torn between to races thing. I think you should be able to play that as a character. However, I would like to remove the whole Dragonlance tinker-gnomes thing.
 

RigaMortus2

First Post
One thing I really liked about Saga is the reroll abilities of the races. A good example of this for 4E could be Elves finding secret doors. Currently Elves have an automatic chance to find a secret door, which basically is a Search check whenever the DM thinks they need one. I see a few problems with how this works. First off, it is an often overlooked ability. It hardly sees use. When it does get used, it is usually only because there IS a secret door present. Again, rarely does a DM give the Elf a secret door Search check when there ISN'T a secret door present. In the current rules, there is no mention of this roll being secret/behind the scenes or not. Which leads to... As soon as the other players see that the Elf is getting an automatic Search check, they often take it upon themselves to search as well. The end result, the only time the ability use is when there is a secret door present, and at that point, everyone just rolls a Search check anyway...

Now, using the Saga rules, what could potentially happen is they get an automatic reroll. Roll low on that Search check Mr. Elf? Try again. Of course, you still have to worry about metamaging a bit. The character doesn't know he rolled a 2 for the Search check, so as far as he is concerned, he checked for the secret door as best he could. However, the player, upon seeing this 2 come up, will decide "I don't think I searched as well as I could havem let me roll again".

Anyway, I like the idea of racial abilities allowing rerolls for certain aspects their race is good at (Searching, Spotting, Diplomacy, etc.)
 

broghammerj

Explorer
My suspicion is that the racial abilities are a means to give you a power up every level to avoid the off levels where you get only a BAB/Save upgrade. To use 3E terms which may no longer exist you'll get something like this:

Level 1: Race, Class Ability, Feat
2.Class Ability
3.Feat
4.Race Ability
5.Class Ability
6.Feat
7.Race Ability

This may be an oversimplification of things, but I think the racial ability is a way to give you something every level. I am sure that they will be in some sort of talent tree (ala D20 Modern) or feat progression so that two players of the same race and class can make different characters.
 

heirodule

First Post
jasin said:
Hopefully, there will be dwarf abilities that are class-independent and/or targetted at classes other than the obvious default choice for the class.

So there might be a dwarven ability that lets you use smite once per encounter after spending 3 rounds in contact with the ground without moving 5 ft. Not very useful for a wizard.

But there might be a dwarven ability that you Empower a spell for free once per encoutner after spending 3 rounds in contact with the ground without moving 5 ft. (In fact these might two uses of the same ability.) Useful for a wizard!

And there might be a dwarven ability that grants you DR 1/- per 5 levels. More or less useful for everyone.

At least that's what I hope to see.
that sounds suspiciously specific. Are you a playtester? :)
 

WhatGravitas

Explorer
jasin said:
Hopefully, there will be dwarf abilities that are class-independent and/or targetted at classes other than the obvious default choice for the class.
I think you're on the right track - either they get stuff that's useful for everybody... or they use their "roles".

In one article, they've talked about clearly defined roles, so party members will always have something to do, and they've got these "power sources" - probably arcane/divine/martial.

Perhaps each race gets an ability suite for each of these roles or power sources, so each race has two or three suites to evolve in.

This would make each race-class combination unique and hence more interesting to play, while making race important.
 

Cabled

First Post
ehren37 said:
I'm somewhat concerned about this snippet of information



Mainly that each race is more strongly tied to a niche. That half-elves will be the "social race", dwarves will be the "tank race", etc. That by choosing something other than the "best fit" race, you'll end up penalized for daring to play against stereotypes. 3.5 did a decent job of allowing people to play against type precisely because the race changes didn't make a colossal difference. Yeah, your half-orc wizard had a -2 Int, but really you could make an effecitve wizard of any race. It let people create a character they wanted, rather than feel they were being nudged in a direction due to their race.

I;m all for making race an interesting choice. For making the races play differently and for having different fighting styles and tactics by race. I'm just concerned that in the end, we'll have elves be the uber wizards, halflings the uber rogues, and of course humans back to their 1e roots of being useless.

Apologies in advance if this sounds snarky, it's not meant to, but...

In ANY system, if you have more than one choice, unless they are all exactly the same (and thus a non-choice), there will be one that is the best...it is an inherent property of having choices at all. If the internet was 80 years old and tophat and racecar each had a special ability, we'd have been having this same debate about monopoly and how broken the thimble is, with its high armor value :) The trick from a design standpoint is to not make the "best" choices overwhelmingly so, so that being sub optimal is crippling. "Sub-optimal" can be a continuum, not a black-and-white category, and that is always the hard part..offering choices without making them foolish choices.
 

Imperialus

Explorer
I like the idea of race continueing to influance your character though all the levels. It remains to be seen how well they implement it but so far I'm hopeful.
 

jasin

First Post
heirodule said:
that sounds suspiciously specific. Are you a playtester? :)
No, I'm not (but if any WotC folks are paying attention, I'd sure like to be! :)), it's just that this all this brings back the heady early days of 3E, when we got a shiny new framework that still wasn't populated by specific implementations, so there was all sorts of room to work out our own. It gets my crunchy creative juices flowing. Just imagine the wonderful things I could think up if I really was a playtester! :D
 

Klaus

First Post
Re: elven evasion: how do we know "favored classes" made it to 4e? Maybe elves are the best... I don't know... rangers? :eek: :)
 

JVisgaitis

First Post
broghammerj said:
I would disagree. Tanis half elven from Dragonlance seemed to really exemplify the "half elf" torn between to races thing. I think you should be able to play that as a character. However, I would like to remove the whole Dragonlance tinker-gnomes thing.

Tanis is a perfect example and he's one of my favorite characters. The thing is, you can definitely play as that character and still remove specific rules for a half-race in 4e. Its not the rules that make Tanis what he is. Its the character's story.

If they simply have an entry in the PHB that says you can play as a half race but you pick the racial abilities of either of the full races and they go on to list some examples and motivations like half-elves, and half-orcs problem solved plus we save some pages for new content.
 

MarkB

Legend
amethal said:
I'm really excited by it.
I must admit I was very nervous when I read the first half of the article - my immediate response was "This could lead to some extreme class/race synergies - and the reverse - which will greatly affect the viability of particular class/race combinations."

Reading the rest of the article, I have the impression that they spotted this obvious flaw and toned down their original concept to account for it. However, we'll have to see how it really works out in play.

The only thing I wonder about, is that its apparently replacing level adjustments.
This part is what actually excited me most about the new system. It sounds very promising, and I'm looking forward to seeing it in play.

If we assume that the outside limit of "playable" LA races is +5, does this mean that by the time they reach 30th level the standard races will be the equivalent of a +5 LA so they can match the more exotic ones?
According to the article, race-related benefits apparently top out around 10th level. For races that are more exotic and powerful, perhaps racial characteristics could continue to be added beyond 10th level. The question then would be how to maintain balance - perhaps class levels which include racial bonuses would cost more XP than those which don't.
 

broghammerj

Explorer
JVisgaitis said:
Tanis is a perfect example and he's one of my favorite characters. The thing is, you can definitely play as that character and still remove specific rules for a half-race in 4e. Its not the rules that make Tanis what he is. Its the character's story.
.

I don't say this often, but I totally agree with that. If it saves a few pages for new content I would be on board with your ideas.
 

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