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%

Sigdel

First Post

You an I Think a lot alike on this. The whole racial package for elves seem to favor archer, sneaky, scout types. But they get saddled with wizard out of a tradition that has been rendered null by the mechanics of each new edition.

As for my comment about "elves are supposed to be the best wizards," I was a bit over stating it. But as a counter point look at the elf racial makeup:

d20 SRD; said:
  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
  • Medium: As Medium creatures, elves have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Elf base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Immunity to magic sleep effects, and a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells or effects.
  • Low-Light Vision: An elf can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. She retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Elves receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats.
  • +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks. An elf who merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if she were actively looking for it.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Elven. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan.

But this is that part that confuses me

PHB 3.5e; said:
Favored Class: Wizard. A multiclass elf’s wizard class does not count when determining whether she takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. Wizardry come naturally to elves-indeed they sometimes say they invented it, and fighter/wizards are especially common among them.

It's like setting halflings up to be great rouges but saying their favored class is the cleric.
 

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Keldryn

Adventurer
You an I Think a lot alike on this. The whole racial package for elves seem to favor archer, sneaky, scout types. But they get saddled with wizard out of a tradition that has been rendered null by the mechanics of each new edition.

I would hate to lose the flavor of elves having a knack for magic-use simply because of how the mechanics of the game have evolved. The woodsy spellcasters who are talented archers and swordsmen is true to the source material which inspired elves in D&D in the first place.

As for my comment about "elves are supposed to be the best wizards," I was a bit over stating it. But as a counter point look at the elf racial makeup:
Yeah, it's pretty much a direct conversion from AD&D:

  • +1 Dexterity, -1 Constitution
  • 90% resistance to sleep and charm spells and effects
  • infravision to 60'
  • +1 on "to hit" rolls with long swords, short swords, long bows, and short bows
  • 3 in 6 chance to find a concealed door or 2 in 6 chance to find a secret door when actively looking for them. 1 in 6 chance to notice a concealed door when merely passing by
  • if not in metal armor and either alone or accompanied by elves or halflings not in metal armor, can move so silently as to surprise opponents with a 4 in 6 chance (this is the only one that didn't get translated into 3e in some form)
As with a number of other aspects of the game (particularly around the checks and balances on spellcasting), the designers seem to have not thought through all of the ramifications of the changes to the core of the game.

It's like setting halflings up to be great rouges but saying their favored class is the cleric.
Yes, it ends up being that way in 3e. The game mechanics in pre-3e D&D reinforced the magical aptitude of elves by allowing them to be magic-users when non-human races generally could not be and by allowing them to mix spellcasting with swordplay and/or thievery very effectively (in 1e, elven and half-elven fighter/magic-users could cast spells in full armor with no penalties). The nature of the XP tables meant that a fighter/magic-user would generally be 1 level in each class behind the rest of the party. That's what really made elves special as wizards. 3e took that away by giving those abilities to everyone else and didn't give them anything to replace it (other than the lame Favored Class that a lot of people seem to ignore anyway).

Thinking about it this way, I like the idea of making elves better at effectively combing swordplay, archery, and magic use as opposed to simply making them better wizards. Rather than trying to make Wizard an attractive option for elves, make a Fighter/Wizard the attractive option. It reinforces the archetype and helps get away from the "race X makes the optimal class Y" stuff that has crept into the game.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
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.

I disagree. I've conducted dozens of polls on this subject alone on these and other forums and the unanimous feedback is that, even in a system with 20 as a maximum, most people feel fine with a 16+. This even after I've argued that 18 is a minimum in such a system as 4e.

That doesn't mean they're right, but it does mean that you're wrong :)
 

aurance

Explorer
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.

I don't agree. At least in 4e, where a point buy is assumed, you make a pretty heavy sacrifice to start with a 20 post-racial, and is only recommended for only a few character types.

And anyway it's completely irrelevant what the actual number is, as long as the system math balance assumptions are designed to take it into account. What's more important is character abilities relative to each other in a single group, not an aggregate player expectation as a whole on what a "good" score is.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
Yes, it ends up being that way in 3e.

I find it quite interesting that the subtle complexities of a system can have such a profound impact on expectations of racial diversity. How 3e, on the surface, represents the dynamic of elves (being natural arcanists but not necessarily powerful arcanists), but because of the interplay of classes and abilities the end result negates this benefit.

I think this is something that, if 5e is really going to be the finely polished jewel that the designers want it to be, needs to be considered. The holistic impact of their system, stepping back and looking at it as a whole, is just as important as the minutia.
 

slobster

Hero
Just to chime in my 2 cents, I've seen about thirty-ish 4E characters played and probably twice that many 3.x characters over the course of my gaming career. I've seen precisely zero 20's or racially-unmodified 18's (the highest you can start with) on 4E characters. This is because the point-buy system makes you pay so dearly for a max stat, and because you almost always have a secondary stat that you'd rather invest in. I've seen some builds suggested for which a 20 would makes sense, but I've never seen one played.

3.x is harder to count, but I have the general recollection that about 1 character, sometimes two had a natural 18 on their sheet per game. Partly this was because a single-stat character was more viable for certain classes in 3.x than it was for 4E. Partly this was because some of those games used the 4d6 method, so if you rolled an 18 you played it.

In any case I wouldn't say it was an expectation in any edition. It was a thing to be envied when we randomly rolled scores, and something that was expensive but (usually) too restrictive to actually play when we used point buy.
 
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Derren

Hero
If you a play a dwarf that has been changed to be nothing like a dwarf then it isn't a dwarf - so why be a dwarf? Be a good something else rather than a bad dwarf. I don't get this teenage angst 'I try so hard to be an individual so I end up looking like everyone else' issue with messing so much with what are poked at as clichés that everything turns into a incoherent theme park designed by a schizophrenic on an acid trip.


And I don't get this Tolkien worship where races must forever have the same culture as in Lord of the Rings.
So whats wrong with a dwarf who lives in the woods, uses a bow (they are slow so a ranged weapon makes sense) and practices magic?
Why do dwarves always have to be axe wielding drunkards?

Those cultural traits are exactly what needs to stay out of the racial traits. So Ability scores only please and other genetic characteristics. No skills, weapons, relations with other races or other cultural traits.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don't agree. At least in 4e, where a point buy is assumed, you make a pretty heavy sacrifice to start with a 20 post-racial, and is only recommended for only a few character types.

And anyway it's completely irrelevant what the actual number is, as long as the system math balance assumptions are designed to take it into account. What's more important is character abilities relative to each other in a single group, not an aggregate player expectation as a whole on what a "good" score is.

Just to chime in my 2 cents, I've seen about thirty-ish 4E characters played and probably twice that many 3.x characters over the course of my gaming career. I've seen precisely zero 20's or racially-unmodified 18's (the highest you can start with) on 4E characters. This is because the point-buy system makes you pay so dearly for a max stat, and because you almost always have a secondary stat that you'd rather invest in. I've seen some builds suggested for which a 20 would makes sense, but I've never seen one played.

3.x is harder to count, but I have the general recollection that about 1 character, sometimes two had a natural 18 on their sheet per game. Partly this was because a single-stat character was more viable for certain classes in 3.x than it was for 4E. Partly this was because some of those games used the 4d6 method, so if you rolled an 18 you played it.

In any case I wouldn't say it was an expectation in any edition. It was a thing to be envied when we randomly rolled scores, and something that was expensive but (usually) too restrictive to actually play when we used point buy.

This is how I prefer 18's and 20's. Envied but unusable for many builds.

Anyways I like my races as:

Minor Ability adjustment
Base movement speed and Special movement
Vision and special senses (XCunning, Darvision)
Natural weapons (breath weapons, fangs, claws)
Biological changes (healing, eating, fatigue)
 

In 3x I house ruled a split in race between physical and cultural...ending up with basically a 5e background choice. It worked very well.

For 5e, I would like to see the Stat mods go away and get replaced by well thought out size characteristics. Ones that don't grant Stat mods. This way your characters physical appearance is define by size and a descriptor ...like medium and stocky =dwarf.
Medium and slight =elf. Medium and hulk = half orc.

Combine this with the idea of scaling damage between different sized combatants as I posted in another thread, you get your racial differentiation while allowing player choices.


Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 


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