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D&D 5E Racial Redux - Replacing racial ability modifiers.

mellored

Explorer
Mellored's Racial Redux - Replacing racial ability modifiers.

So the goal here is to replace racial abilities modifiers with more flavorful bonuses when you act like the race. The Goliath player should look at things as if they were a competition, the gnome player should start looking for novel ways to accomplish his task, and the half-elf player should never want to sit still, the dwarf should avoid open spaces, etc...

All other racial features stay the same unless noted.



Dwarf - Cave Dweller. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you are inside. (+1d6 for mountain dwarves?)

Wood Elf - +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you are in the woods.
Drow - +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you are in darkness.
High Elf - +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you have studied the target for at least 10 minutes.

Gnome - Curiosity. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you do something that you haven't done since your last long rest.

Goliath - Competitive. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you are attempting to surpass someone else.

Halfling - Lost in the Crowd. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when there are at least 10 creatures (hostile or otherwise) within 50' of you. Large creatures count as 2, huge count as 3, and so on.

Half-Elf - Wanderer. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's when you are in a new area. You become familiar with your immediate area (approximately 100') after a short rest and your general area (approximately 1 mile) after a long rest.

Half-Orc - Savage. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's if you have taken or dealt damage in the last round.

Humans - Keeps the +1 to all stats.
(Remove variant human).

Tiefling - Self-reliant. +1d4 to all rolls and +2 to DC's if there are at most 1 creature within 30' of you.




This is a wiki, so feel free to contribute, modify, or whatever.
 
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Horwath

Hero
i was aiming at similar idea about racial ability bonuses.

I would eliminate all of it and all ASI's from classes and instead just force feats.

You would get standard array of abilities at lvl1 and they would not change except by magical means.

Standard array: 18,16,14,12,12,10

High powered array; 20,18,16,14,12,10

Low powered array; 16,14,12,12,10,8

arange as you want.
 

TallIan

Explorer
[MENTION=6801209]mellored[/MENTION] it's a nice idea but strikes me as a little bit fiddly, lots of if...then... Maybe try to simplify things to that of wood elf, eg change dwarf to when underground. Also humans seem to be shafted with only two rolls benefitting from a bonus compared to other races getting all rolls.
[MENTION=6801299]Horwath[/MENTION] I keep toying with the idea of removing ASI's but I think that will take a lot more work than simply saying "no more ASI's only feats". What about feats that do add +1 to an ability, suddenly they become VERY desirable. I also think that fixing abilities means that low level play is boosted and high level play is nerfed - maybe not a problem for you but something to consider.

I've not written anything down but if I were to drops ASI's, I would flatten ability bonus scores somewhat (something like +1 for every 3) and change the proficiency bonus progression. Since char skill progression is linked to improving ability scores and improving proficiency bonus. I would also change feats to a point based system, so all feats that include an ASI, now don't and are 1 point, other feats are 2 points, and some more powerful feats could be 3. The only other issue here is saves are not going to be as good so that may need looking at.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
I like the idea - I don't like racial stat mods at all - but those are severely unbalanced. The Human comes off very much the worst - twice per short rest versus all the time.

I'm getting the feeling that the +1d4 applies to skill rolls and opposed checks but as written it applies to combat rolls too.

And the +2 to DCs should IMHO be -2 to DCs that you roll rather than imposing a +2 penalty on others.

Actually, I don't like the +1d4 or + or -2 at all. It's too easy to powergame all those little modifiers into a big overall number. So I'd like to see this folded into the Advantage / Disadvantage or Inspiration mechanics and limited by Short and Long Rests.

E.g. Goliath: once per Short Rest you may apply Inspiration to a skill or ability roll when trying to surpass someone.

Gnome: once per Short Rest you may apply Inspiration to a skill you have not used since your last Long Rest.

Etc.
 

Mephista

First Post
+dice in situations is going to be very fiddly. I can't count the number of times people forget it just because its too much to keep track of.
 

mellored

Explorer
[MENTION=6801209]mellored[/MENTION] it's a nice idea but strikes me as a little bit fiddly, lots of if...then... Maybe try to simplify things to that of wood elf, eg change dwarf to when underground.
Done.

Also humans seem to be shafted with only two rolls benefitting from a bonus compared to other races getting all rolls.
The Human comes off very much the worst - twice per short rest versus all the time.
Just keep the +1 to all stats then? It keeps humans simple and generic.

I'm sure there needs to be plenty of tweaking.

I'm getting the feeling that the +1d4 applies to skill rolls and opposed checks but as written it applies to combat rolls too.
Yes.

You're -1 to hit and -1 damage all the time, so +1d4 to-hit in certain situation seems about on par.

Actually, I don't like the +1d4 or + or -2 at all. It's too easy to powergame all those little modifiers into a big overall number. So I'd like to see this folded into the Advantage / Disadvantage or Inspiration mechanics and limited by Short and Long Rests.

E.g. Goliath: once per Short Rest you may apply Inspiration to a skill or ability roll when trying to surpass someone.

Gnome: once per Short Rest you may apply Inspiration to a skill you have not used since your last Long Rest.

Etc.
+dice in situations is going to be very fiddly. I can't count the number of times people forget it just because its too much to keep track of.
I'm not totally sold on the +1d4 myself. I think it might be a bit too much pressure to play in your niche.

1/short rest advantage could work, but wouldn't that be even more fiddly?
 

Mephista

First Post
Personally, I think that a static bonus that relates to exploration in said envirionment might be better. Or something else related to another pillar other than combat. Crafting, social-fu, exploration, resting, etc.
 

Horwath

Hero
[MENTION=6801299]Horwath[/MENTION] I keep toying with the idea of removing ASI's but I think that will take a lot more work than simply saying "no more ASI's only feats". What about feats that do add +1 to an ability, suddenly they become VERY desirable. I also think that fixing abilities means that low level play is boosted and high level play is nerfed - maybe not a problem for you but something to consider.

I've not written anything down but if I were to drops ASI's, I would flatten ability bonus scores somewhat (something like +1 for every 3) and change the proficiency bonus progression. Since char skill progression is linked to improving ability scores and improving proficiency bonus. I would also change feats to a point based system, so all feats that include an ASI, now don't and are 1 point, other feats are 2 points, and some more powerful feats could be 3. The only other issue here is saves are not going to be as good so that may need looking at.

Well, you get 2 half feats without +1 to an ability bonus when you would get a "full feat"
 

Kryx

Explorer
I appreciate the idea, but all of them are very fiddly. The optimization moves to which races works most often in this campaign.

imo either all races get +2/+1 to any ability scores or +1 to 3 ability scores (replacing the normal ability scores). Or find a way to remove racial bonuses, but then you'd have to adjust point buy and mehh.
 

mellored

Explorer
I appreciate the idea, but all of them are very fiddly. The optimization moves to which races works most often in this campaign.
Still seems better than picking a race that fits the class.

imo either all races get +2/+1 to any ability scores or +1 to 3 ability scores (replacing the normal ability scores). Or find a way to remove racial bonuses, but then you'd have to adjust point buy and mehh.
I'd still like to see a mechanical reward for acting like a dwarf/elf/half-orc/etc...
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I like racial ability score bonuses. For me, an ‘ability’ is aptitude for a cluster of skills that a person tends to be good at. Obviously, some races have global advantages over a set of skills, moreso than other races.

That said.

A compromise that I think I could live with and even prefer is:

Racial Feats.

Each race gets a group of feats per tier (student levels 1-4, professional 5-10, master 11-16, legend 17-20). At each tier, each race can choose one feat from a tier that one qualifies for.

Across tiers is the options:
• +2 to a race ability score or a subrace ability score.
• +1 to three ability scores, including the race, subrace, and one other.
• +1 to a race or subrace ability score, plus a minor race feature.
• a major race feature.

By turning racial ability scores improvements into race feats, each player can choose whether they prefer ability improvements, features, or a combination of both.

Ideally, these four race feats (one at each tier) is extra, in addition to the feats that each class supplies.

I want races to have unique high level features. At master tier, High Elf can fly at will, Eladrin gains teleport speed, Dragonborn gains wings, and so on ... if this is the race feat that the player chooses at this tier.
 

Mephista

First Post
Still seems better than picking a race that fits the class.
That's still going to be happening. Wood elves are built to be rangers and druids from more than just their stat bonuses. High elves are designed to be eldritch knights and wizards from their extra language and cantrip. Halflings are designed to be great at rogue-ness because of their ability to thread in and out of combat between legs. Tiefling magic pushes them to warlock, sorcerer, and the occasional wizard / bard with the alternate rules from SCAG. Half orc's +Intimidate, +Relentless, +Savage Attack still pushes them towards barbarian, since those are designed to synergize with existing barbarian abilities.

And so on. If you want to change things from racial-class ties, you're going to need more than just changing attribute bonuses. You're going to need a rewrite from ground up.

D&D is a game where PCs are built around classes. Everything, from feats to race to background, everything ties into class in some way.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I'd still like to see a mechanical reward for acting like a dwarf/elf/half-orc/etc...
So more like an Inspiration mechanic, where "roleplaying choice X" grants "mechanical bonus Y"?

The problem I have with the current version you've done is that it feels more like the Ranger favored enemy than anything else. You don't get to choose, really (unless the game is full sandbox), whether or not you're inside, or in a new area. So sometimes the bonus is ridiculously favorable (all dwarf parties for a dungeon crawl game), and sometimes it doesn't matter. It would promote gaming racial choice based on campaign types. Which may be what you want!

Personally, I like racial bonuses based on granting permissions and new abilities rather than dice bonuses. Elven trance, halfling luck, the lightfoot hide in ally's space ability, forest gnome's speak with animals ability, things like that. Abilities that don't target one class (or even class type) specifically, but are still different enough that they remind you, "Oh yea, this character is definitely a gnome".
 


mellored

Explorer
I like racial ability score bonuses. For me, an ‘ability’ is aptitude for a cluster of skills that a person tends to be good at. Obviously, some races have global advantages over a set of skills, moreso than other races.

That said.

A compromise that I think I could live with and even prefer is:

Racial Feats.

Each race gets a group of feats per tier (student levels 1-4, professional 5-10, master 11-16, legend 17-20). At each tier, each race can choose one feat from a tier that one qualifies for.

Across tiers is the options:
• +2 to a race ability score or a subrace ability score.
• +1 to three ability scores, including the race, subrace, and one other.
• +1 to a race or subrace ability score, plus a minor race feature.
• a major race feature.

By turning racial ability scores improvements into race feats, each player can choose whether they prefer ability improvements, features, or a combination of both.

Ideally, these four race feats (one at each tier) is extra, in addition to the feats that each class supplies.

I want races to have unique high level features. At master tier, High Elf can fly at will, Eladrin gains teleport speed, Dragonborn gains wings, and so on ... if this is the race feat that the player chooses at this tier.
I could work with that.

That way, you could keep your +stat half-orc barbarian, while I can play a bonus-for-being-aggressive half-orc wizard.
 

mellored

Explorer
That's still going to be happening. Wood elves are built to be rangers and druids from more than just their stat bonuses. High elves are designed to be eldritch knights and wizards from their extra language and cantrip. Halflings are designed to be great at rogue-ness because of their ability to thread in and out of combat between legs. Tiefling magic pushes them to warlock, sorcerer, and the occasional wizard / bard with the alternate rules from SCAG. Half orc's +Intimidate, +Relentless, +Savage Attack still pushes them towards barbarian, since those are designed to synergize with existing barbarian abilities.

And so on. If you want to change things from racial-class ties, you're going to need more than just changing attribute bonuses. You're going to need a rewrite from ground up.

D&D is a game where PCs are built around classes. Everything, from feats to race to background, everything ties into class in some way.
That's fair.

I disagree, and would like to see more variety of race/class choices, but still, fair point.
 

mellored

Explorer
So more like an Inspiration mechanic, where "roleplaying choice X" grants "mechanical bonus Y"?
Yes.

Personally, I like racial bonuses based on granting permissions and new abilities rather than dice bonuses. Elven trance, halfling luck, the lightfoot hide in ally's space ability, forest gnome's speak with animals ability, things like that. Abilities that don't target one class (or even class type) specifically, but are still different enough that they remind you, "Oh yea, this character is definitely a gnome".
Agreed. +1d4 was just what came off the top of my head.

Got any other ideas?
 


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