Racial abilities & stereotypes.

Which better represents racial abilities and stereotypes?

  • Ability bonuses and penalties best represent racial stereotypes!

    Votes: 16 17.0%
  • Powers/feats, etc. best represent racial stereotypes.

    Votes: 19 20.2%
  • I want a combination of the above two.

    Votes: 53 56.4%
  • Lemon racials.

    Votes: 6 6.4%

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
But if the game has no ability boost from levels, my orc wizard can't cast spells higher than level 7.
But 7th level spells are huge! A one-in-a-million orc who can cast 7th level spells would be a legend among all orcs, who would be immortalized in song and statuary throughout the realm. You make it sound like he would be a failure because he can *only* banish demons, reverse gravity, control the weather, and slay dragons with a touch from his little finger.

Your game world is much different from mine. In the game I run, only one in a million elves or humans could do such things.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
But 7th level spells are huge! A one-in-a-million orc who can cast 7th level spells would be a legend among all orcs, who would be immortalized in song and statuary throughout the realm. You make it sound like he would be a failure because he can *only* banish demons, reverse gravity, control the weather, and slay dragons with a touch from his little finger.

Your game world is much different from mine. In the game I run, only one in a million elves or humans could do such things.

Actually I was incorrect, he can't even cast 7th level spells. He still would be a legend. -2 like I said isn't too bad.

Its the -4 and worse modifiers, racial HD, and painful restrictions I hate. It is hard enough getting a DM to let you play one. Then you have to convince him or her to help you out further.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Actually I was incorrect, he can't even cast 7th level spells. He still would be a legend. -2 like I said isn't too bad.

Its the -4 and worse modifiers, racial HD, and painful restrictions I hate. It is hard enough getting a DM to let you play one. Then you have to convince him or her to help you out further.
Yeah, that is true. I don't allow monstrous PCs in my campaign either. In my experience, players only want to play a monstrous character when they are trying to bypass the checks and balances of a character class.

Like the hill giant wizard, for example. Wizards, by design, are not supposed to be powerful melee fighters. Hill giants are not supposed to be powerful arcane spellcasters. These assumptions are built into the rules mechanics for the sake of balance. Now, combining the two should be possible, but it should result in a lackluster experience for both...a hill giant wizard would not be as good of a fighter as other hill giants, and would not be as good of a wizard as other wizards.

It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Perhaps El_Mahdi is on to something: instead of penalties, what if we imposed limits instead? What if we said that wizards can never have a Strength score higher than 12 no matter what race they choose, and/or hill giants could never have Intelligence scores higher than 12 no matter what class they choose. Regardless of what kind of rolls you started with, or how many magic items you are wearing, or how many buff spells you cast...wizards will always be physically weak, and hill giants will always be intellectually impaired. It's simple and elegant. I dig it.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, that is true. I don't allow monstrous PCs in my campaign either. In my experience, players only want to play a monstrous character when they are trying to bypass the checks and balances of a character class.

Like the hill giant wizard, for example. Wizards, by design, are not supposed to be powerful melee fighters. Hill giants are not supposed to be powerful arcane spellcasters. These assumptions are built into the rules mechanics for the sake of balance. Now, combining the two should be possible, but it should result in a lackluster experience for both...a hill giant wizard would not be as good of a fighter as other hill giants, and would not be as good of a wizard as other wizards.

It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Its a bug to me. The combination doesn't have to be good but it should be on the bottommost layer of the trash heap. Not to be able to be a giant wizard or a pixie fighter is a bug in my eyes as it cuts off my creativity the 1 in 1000 chance I find a DM who'll let me even play one.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
I like bonuses, feats and themes. I dislike racial statribute penalties. With a point buy that gives you a chance to build that strong halfling like Vohnkar or dwarf like Fredegar but generally the super nimble halfling and the brick outhouse dwarf are going to be more the norm. It's one of the things I think 4E was on the right track of.
 
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B.T.

First Post
Why limit everyone for the sake of the very few who demand that we all play burly dwarves and skinny elves?
You are assuming that the majority of players don't want burly, beardy, alcoholic dwarves. I believe this is in error. In fact, I would wager that players with your ideas are in the minority, so the question you should ask yourself is why redesign the system for the sake of the very few who are dissatisfied with burly dwarves and skinny elves?
Wouldn't you rather have the choice and have that represented in the stats you can get?
No, not really.
And if you do choose to play a stereotypical character, you can allocate your stats and choose all the feats and powers and whatnot that you want to represent that; but I and everyone else who doesn't want that, can put our bonuses elsewhere and go down a different route.
No, I don't much care for that. Without an inherent mechanical distinctions, there's not much point in having races. You might as well play all humans at that point.
 
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Keldryn

Adventurer
I don't mind racial penalties. Just have them make sense. For example, elves are supposed to be some of the best wizards around, but they get a +2 dex and a -2 con. They get a +1 to AC and ranged attacks, but at the expense of 20 HP by level 20? And their favored class sports a d4 for HP?! WTF?!

This is one of those areas where the changes to the core system by the 3e designers had some unforeseen consequences when combined with traditional elements of D&D. The racial modifiers for elves make sense when you consider the concept that is being modeled: they are more graceful but less hardy than humans.

I don't think that D&D has ever described elves as being the best wizards. Elves have always been described as being fascinated by magic and as having an aptitude for the magical arts. Magic comes naturally to them, but that isn't the same as saying that they make the most powerful wizards.

In early versions of D&D, this natural talent for magic was demonstrated by the fact that elves (and half-elves) were the only non-human PC race that could advance as magic-users. In addition, while a human wizard had to dedicate his entire life to the study of magic, an elf could be a competent wizard as well as an accomplished swordsman. However, elves were never able to become the most powerful wizards; in AD&D, they were capped at 11th level, 10th level in B/X D&D.

The 3e concept of "favored class" was not intended to indicate what class a race is "the best at." The favored class is something that the race is naturally drawn to and/or has a natural aptitude for. In the case of elves, it means that all elves can dabble in magic use without hindering their progress in other pursuits. In game terms, an elf can take a couple of levels of wizard without getting hit with an XP penalty for having class levels too spread out.

Unfortunately, of the core 3e races, elves stick out as not really having any features or ability score adjustments that enhance their performance in their favored class. The other core races have better support for their favored classes, but it seems to be because their racial features in AD&D just happened to work that way.

In 3e, any race can be a wizard, and any race can combine being a wizard with virtually anything else, so elves no longer have this advantage. Intelligence determined the chance that a magic-user had of learning a spell as well as the maximum number of spells per level that he could learn, but it did not grant additional spells per day, nor did it increase the power of their spells. Also, the maximum spell level that a magic-user could cast was determined by an Intelligence score of twice the spell level (so 5th level with a 10 Int, 9th level with an 18 Int), instead of 10 + spell level. Thus, not having a bonus to Intelligence wasn't that big a hindrance to being a magic-user.

So we could make elves into better wizards by giving them a bonus to Intelligence, but that's a pretty clumsy solution. Being able to pick up a couple of wizard levels without incurring an XP penality isn't particularly useful, due to how 3e scales at higher levels. I understand how we got to this point (elves were talented wizards by virtue of being one of the few races able to be wizards until 3e changed that), but I don't know what the solution is.

I could go on a tangent on how D&D has never been able to figure out if elves are the woodsy xenophobes or metro spell-slingers and how 4e finally separated the two types into elves and eladrin, but that's a rant for a different thread.
Without going too far off on than tangent, I would say that B/X D&D and AD&D 1e portrayed elves as reclusive, woodsy spell-slingers pretty well, even before AD&D started adding PC sub-races to muddy the waters.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
This, right here, is my biggest problem with character creation: the need expectation of starting the game with an ability score of 18 (or higher, in some cases).

You're comparing 18's from one edition to 18's of another. Just because they look the same, doesn't mean they are the same.

I understand how we got to this point (elves were talented wizards by virtue of being one of the few races able to be wizards until 3e changed that), but I don't know what the solution is.
That's easy!

Eliminate all attribute bonuses and penalties and reflect racial stereotypes through feats/powers/racial abilities, etc. :D
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
You're comparing 18's from one edition to 18's of another. Just because they look the same, doesn't mean they are the same.
Not really. When I write "18," I am really writing "the largest number you can roll for an ability score." Twenty might be the new eighteen, but my point is still valid: players have been trained to expect at least one maxed-out ability score at first level. And that's Kool and the proverbial Gang, as long as you balance that out somehow. Otherwise, it is just another type of power creep.

I think the reason 20 replaced 18 in the first place is because 18 became so ubiquitous that it was no longer special. The Nigel St. Hubbins Theory of Numerical Maximums is getting old. "But this one goes to twenty!" Bah. Enough already.
 
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