Shoe Horning the Races by Class?

Zardnaar

Legend
In 5E virtually every new player regardless of ability score generation tends to match up their main racial bonus with their class.

This means unless your race has a plus 2 whatever orcare the variant human you will never see a Dwarf Wizard for example.

Back in AD&D you had racial restrictions and ability score negatives but you would often see races in classes where they lacked a relevent bonus. Probably due to multclass rules and racial packages.

Just something I have noticed. You can usually have a decent guess at a players class by their race.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Moderate agreement - you will often see races that have a modifier paired with a class that uses that ability. It doesn't have to be +2. (If it did, you wouldn't see any variant humans, and I think they are the race I see the most.) With a 15 accessible both point buy and standard array, and 16 and 17 both giving the same +3 modifier, I see a lot of 16s around.

This is why I like how 13th Age (a d20 game) does it better. You get a +2 from choice of 2 from race, and a +2 from choice of two from class. They can't be to the same ability score. So any race can have the prime ability of a class, but the races still play different from each other.
 

Jer

Adventurer
Back in AD&D you had racial restrictions and ability score negatives but you would often see races in classes where they lacked a relevent bonus. Probably due to multclass rules and racial packages.
I don't remember this, though I ran B/X and only really engaged in AD&D as a player, and it's been a long time, so perhaps my memories are shaded.

What I remember was that the class/race combos you could play were insanely restrictive. If you were playing anything other than a fighter, magic-user, or fighter/magic-user you were playing a human or a half-elf. When I played I was almost always a cleric, so I was almost always playing a human. Because only half-elves, half-orcs and humans were allowed to be clerics, and the level caps for half-orc and half-elf clerics were stupidly low and the benefits of not being human weren't that great (I googled it real quick to remind myself, and it was worse than I thought - half-orcs were capped at level 4 and half-elves at level 5 - honestly in retrospect it wouldn't have mattered much because our AD&D campaigns never got past level 10 and more typically level 5, but when we were starting out we always assumed they would.) You might get someone playing a halfling thief every once in a while, but that required someone to be a thief and honestly most of the people I gamed with thought AD&D 1e thieves were a joke.

Of course that was 1e. You're probably talking about 2e where it loosened up a bit (hey, at least dwarves and halflings could be clerics in 2e - widening up the options a bit), but even there most of the folks I gamed with had the same attitude towards class/race combos and the "right" choices to make. And many races were still restricted - by the rules you couldn't have a halfling wizard or a dwarf druid, for example. It wasn't until 3e that I saw a widening of the combos outside of house rules at various tables.

This is why I like how 13th Age (a d20 game) does it better. You get a +2 from choice of 2 from race, and a +2 from choice of two from class. They can't be to the same ability score. So any race can have the prime ability of a class, but the races still play different from each other.
Yes - this is one of the mechanics of 13A that is more subtle than a lot of the other ones that folks think of, but I think it has a major impact on the game. Your players who want to have a cool character that is outside of the typical stereotypes but also don't want to be less effective mechanically can have their peanut butter and their chocolate.
 
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GreenTengu

Explorer
In 5E virtually every new player regardless of ability score generation tends to match up their main racial bonus with their class.

This means unless your race has a plus 2 whatever orcare the variant human you will never see a Dwarf Wizard for example.

Back in AD&D you had racial restrictions and ability score negatives but you would often see races in classes where they lacked a relevent bonus. Probably due to multclass rules and racial packages.

Just something I have noticed. You can usually have a decent guess at a players class by their race.
Umm... You have never seen a Dwarf Wizard?...
You have seen less Dwarf Wizards than in AD&D?...

First, Dwarfs get a Constitution bonus which is nice to have if you are a Wizard. Furthermore they are the only race that grants you access to medium armor proficiency-- which is super nice to have if you are a Wizard. Their lack of intelligence bonus literally does not matter at all if you simply avoid the spells that have DCs that the target can make a save against. Avoid those spells and it hardly matters if your Wizard has an Intelligence score of 8.
Furthermore, the Proficiency bonus that one has when swinging the Dwarf's axe is the same as the Fighter's. Which means, so long as you don't tank your Intelligence score, up until the usual fighting classes get multiattack, so long as you don't tank your Strength score and instead take advantage of the fact that the Dwarf is the ONLY race in the game to get a +2 to two stats, means you are going to be hitting only slightly often and slightly less hard with your axes as the fighting classes are.

The Dwarf is probably one of the best races to be if one is going to play a Wizard in 5E and people noticed that almost immediately after the racial stats were put out.

Second, you literally could NOT play a Dwarf Wizard in AD&D. In fact, the only thing you were allowed to be as a Dwarf in AD&D is a Fighter or a Rogue-- and they both had hard level caps meaning you just became useless once the adventure level got too high. And the Rogue level cap was super, super low-- like level 6 or 8. There might have been an option for Cleric for the Dwarf in the final version of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, but I am not even sure about that.

So you are claiming that the edition where Dwarfs can be one of the most potent races to pair with the Wizard class has less people playing Dwarf Wizards than an edition where the book literally forbade you from playing a Dwarf Wizard?

Is this some sort of Mendella Effect thing? Did you step out of a parallel world where everything is completely backwards?
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Unlike some of the prior editions, 5E does mechanically reward stereotypes. Dwarves make great warriors and clerics. Elves are good at magic and archery. Halflings are awesome thieves. Half Elf Bard is good instead of bad. Gnomes are excellent wizards. You get the idea.

However, ability scores are not the end all/be all of the race. I've seen a dwarf wizard in 5E, because they got medium armor and battle axe proficiency (to use Green Flame Blade). Finesse weapons with light armor make Elves and Halflings good front line options, even thought they aren't the stereotypical front line warriors. While I'll agree that most characters are going to line up somewhat with the stereotypes, I feel there are enough viable options to create significant variety.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Umm... You have never seen a Dwarf Wizard?...
You have seen less Dwarf Wizards than in AD&D?...

First, Dwarfs get a Constitution bonus which is nice to have if you are a Wizard. Furthermore they are the only race that grants you access to medium armor proficiency-- which is super nice to have if you are a Wizard. Their lack of intelligence bonus literally does not matter at all if you simply avoid the spells that have DCs that the target can make a save against. Avoid those spells and it hardly matters if your Wizard has an Intelligence score of 8.
Furthermore, the Proficiency bonus that one has when swinging the Dwarf's axe is the same as the Fighter's. Which means, so long as you don't tank your Intelligence score, up until the usual fighting classes get multiattack, so long as you don't tank your Strength score and instead take advantage of the fact that the Dwarf is the ONLY race in the game to get a +2 to two stats, means you are going to be hitting only slightly often and slightly less hard with your axes as the fighting classes are.

The Dwarf is probably one of the best races to be if one is going to play a Wizard in 5E and people noticed that almost immediately after the racial stats were put out.

Second, you literally could NOT play a Dwarf Wizard in AD&D. In fact, the only thing you were allowed to be as a Dwarf in AD&D is a Fighter or a Rogue-- and they both had hard level caps meaning you just became useless once the adventure level got too high. And the Rogue level cap was super, super low-- like level 6 or 8. There might have been an option for Cleric for the Dwarf in the final version of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, but I am not even sure about that.

So you are claiming that the edition where Dwarfs can be one of the most potent races to pair with the Wizard class has less people playing Dwarf Wizards than an edition where the book literally forbade you from playing a Dwarf Wizard?

Is this some sort of Mendella Effect thing? Did you step out of a parallel world where everything is completely backwards?
Never seen a Dwarf wizard since 3.0. Actually did see more in 2E as some settings had them.

Didn't see a lot if wizards in 3E, 50/50 in 5E it seems. Not seeing many fighters either outside that one guy.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Second, you literally could NOT play a Dwarf Wizard in AD&D. In fact, the only thing you were allowed to be as a Dwarf in AD&D is a Fighter or a Rogue-- and they both had hard level caps meaning you just became useless once the adventure level got too high.
You might want to check that: dwarves could be Clerics, too. (In addition, when the classes were added, they could be alchemists and psionicists as well.)

Also, every race had at least one class in which their progression was unlimited. As I recall, that was Thief for dwarves. (Possibly all races.)
 

Jer

Adventurer
You might want to check that: dwarves could be Clerics, too. (In addition, when the classes were added, they could be alchemists and psionicists as well.)

Also, every race had at least one class in which their progression was unlimited. As I recall, that was Thief for dwarves. (Possibly all races.)
In 1e only NPC dwarves could be clerics - PCs could not unless your group house ruled it. In 2e they opened up all of the NPC only classes to allow PCs as well.

And anyone could be a thief in 1e as well as in 2e. Because thieves were terrible and there were no concerns about "balancing" them.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
In 1e only NPC dwarves could be clerics - PCs could not unless your group house ruled it. In 2e they opened up all of the NPC only classes to allow PCs as well.

And anyone could be a thief in 1e as well as in 2e. Because thieves were terrible and there were no concerns about "balancing" them.
I went and checked: PC Dwarves could be Fighters, Thieves and Assassins. NPC Dwarves were limited to 8th level. All races except Half-Orcs were unlimited as Thieves, who were instead unlimited as Assassins.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
It's very common with new players because they are thinking about iconic characters and/or they want to get the game right. With more experience many will try more novel combinations. Some won't because of wanting every perceivable advantage. And because..D&D.

And yeah, dwarf wizards are awesome.😊
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
You've never seen a gnome paladin? Or a halfling barbarian? Or a dwarf wizard?

Boy, you must not be around very creative players! Oh, and I suspect you meant "characters" when you said players, I don't think we are allowed to discuss player's racial tendencies :)
guess at a players class by their race
 

ccs

39th lv DM
In 5E virtually every new player regardless of ability score generation tends to match up their main racial bonus with their class.

This means unless your race has a plus 2 whatever orcare the variant human you will never see a Dwarf Wizard for example.
Yeah, so? What's you're point?
It's a fact, most new players tend to gravitate towards the easy/obvious choices. Always have, always will.
Some of this is because of the math, some because of tropes & clichés.
As they lv up as players, then they start branching out. That's when you begin to see dwarven wizards etc.

Back in AD&D you had racial restrictions and ability score negatives but you would often see races in classes where they lacked a relevent bonus. Probably due to multclass rules and racial packages.
Zard, it was AD&D. You didn't get bonuses unless you had 15+ in a stat. Wich some race/gender combos couldn't even reach.
An example from 1e, not considering UA:
Strength (ignoring the weight allowances & BB/LG%s wich while important, nobody even today actually worries much about - until you can't carry ALL the loot away:) )
16 = +1 damage
17 = +1 to hit/+1 damage
18 (THE cap for non-fighters) = +1 to hit/+2 damage
18(%) = a) you had to be a fighter, b) you had to have rolled an 18 initially, c) your race & gender presented yet another cap.... And if you were really lucky? Rolling an 18/00 = +3 to hit/+ 6 damage.
Now days? If you're rolling you could get lucky & end up with a 20str at lv 1 - a +7 to hit (counting prof.)/+5 damage! And if you don't start with a 20? No worries, survive long enough & you can pump your ASIs into it.

But the only time you NEEDED x in a stat was A) qualify for a class, B) access certain lvs of spells.


Just something I have noticed. You can usually have a decent guess at a players class by their race.
Really? You're just now noticing this mid-2019?? :)
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
Moderate agreement - you will often see races that have a modifier paired with a class that uses that ability. It doesn't have to be +2. (If it did, you wouldn't see any variant humans, and I think they are the race I see the most.)
Indeed, and it's all for that delicious, succulent feat. I think it's a shame the game doesn't encourage feats more. I think that's where real character customization comes into its own. ASIs and proficiencies are nice, and highly encouraged by the core rules since they affect situations that come up again and again (you need a really good reason not to get your primary stat to 20 ASAP). But at the end of the day they just let you do what you could already do... a bit better. Feats add whole new dimension to characters. Often, this isn't mechanically as good as a 20 in your primary stat, but I do think it's more interesting.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
In 1e only NPC dwarves could be clerics - PCs could not unless your group house ruled it. In 2e they opened up all of the NPC only classes to allow PCs as well.
Actually that changed when UA came along in 1e.
Some race/class combos were still blocked, but for those not it depended upon your subrace & stats.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Indeed, and it's all for that delicious, succulent feat. I think it's a shame the game doesn't encourage feats more. I think that's where real character customization comes into its own. ASIs and proficiencies are nice, and highly encouraged by the core rules since they affect situations that come up again and again (you need a really good reason not to get your primary stat to 20 ASAP). But at the end of the day they just let you do what you could already do... a bit better. Feats add whole new dimension to characters. Often, this isn't mechanically as good as a 20 in your primary stat, but I do think it's more interesting.
You're right. On top of being more interesting it's often flat out better.
Hmm, let me see;
I could invest 4-8 levels to get a +2 on what I can already do quite well....
Or
I could pick up two completely new abilities & have more options (both mechanically & RP wise)....
 

Jer

Adventurer
Actually that changed when UA came along in 1e.
Some race/class combos were still blocked, but for those not it depended upon your subrace & stats.
That makes sense. By the time UA came out I was out of the AD&D group and running my own B/X campaign (moving will do that - had to build a new group).
 

Horwath

Explorer
solutions:

1.
add +1 to one of the key abilities of the class. Not stacking with racial bonus like in 13th Age.
I.E. Paladin could add +1 to str, con or cha. Wizard could add +1 to con, int or wis. Ranger could add +1 to str, dex or wis. Etc...

2.
Give option to trade in +2 racial bonus for bonus feat. That feat has to be a "half-feat" and that +1 must be useful to the class.

3.
Remove all racial ability bonuses and balance races around that.
rework ability point buy to 16 pts at start

ability 8 - costs 0
10 - costs 1
12 - costs 2
14 - costs 3
16 - costs 5
 

GreenTengu

Explorer
Unlike some of the prior editions, 5E does mechanically reward stereotypes. Dwarves make great warriors and clerics. Elves are good at magic and archery. Halflings are awesome thieves. Half Elf Bard is good instead of bad. Gnomes are excellent wizards. You get the idea.

However, ability scores are not the end all/be all of the race. I've seen a dwarf wizard in 5E, because they got medium armor and battle axe proficiency (to use Green Flame Blade). Finesse weapons with light armor make Elves and Halflings good front line options, even thought they aren't the stereotypical front line warriors. While I'll agree that most characters are going to line up somewhat with the stereotypes, I feel there are enough viable options to create significant variety.
To have written something this completely wrong, I can only assume that you have never actually played any other edition of D&D in your life and are just making up :):):):) up.

Every edition had attribute bonuses. Every single one. They also had attribute penalties which the current edition does not have. The current edition also has attribute caps which previous editions did not. That means it is both easier and more feasible to play against type than it has been in ANY previous edition of D&D.

Furthermore, a lot of the abilities on the race don't enhance their "favored class" so much as simply give you some ability from that class if you are playing a different one.

The Dwarf granting proficiency in axes or medium armor means NOTHING to someone who is playing a Fighter or Paladin-- because every single Fighter and Paladin in the game automatically gains those profieincies regardless whether they are a Dwarf or not. The only way those proficiencies are actually used is if one is playing a class that doesn't automatically get them.

The Elf granting a Cantrip is kind of nice for classes that already get 4. But a 5th Cantrip on such a class isn't nearly as nice as getting a Cantrip on a class that otherwise would never be granted access to one. And the same can be said for the Tiefling granting spells.

Probably the only race in the whole PHB that wasn't built in this way but unfortunately grants only bonuses towards playing a small handful of particular classes is the Half-Orc. Aside from that singular example, none of the races are built in a way that encourages a person towards any particular class-- certainly not to the extent that AD&D did by literally placing bans on races getting to take most classes and strictly limiting their levels or 3rd edition smacking the player with an attribute penalty that ensured they would never remotely be feasible in a ton of classes. Especially since there was no attribute limit cap, so even if one gained attribute points, the race that started +4 points above the other was always going to be +4 points higher which meant a +2 on all abilities.

In fact, when it comes to Wizards, AD&D and 3rd edition both had bonus spells and maximum spell levels which made the Intelligence attribute so much more important to boost as high as possible. Such things do not exist within 5E.

And not just Wizards, because 3rd edition also had attribute limits on all of the feats which meant unless you already had super high attributes in your class's chosen attributes-- something that just could not happen if you started at a penalty-- you would be forbidden from taking the important feats making you far, FAR worse than the race that got a bonus there.

No matter how you cut it, 5E allows for a far greater range of race/class combinations to be viable.

Anyone who says otherwise has literally never picked up and looked through the books of any other edition.
Either that or they are out-and-out trolling or-- as I initially suggested-- this is some Mandella Effect thing and they dropped in from some parallel universe where everything is exactly backwards.

And if people were playing with a group that were intentionally playing dysfunctional or rulebook-violating things 20 years ago and now they are playing with people play exclusively the most standard stereotypes-- that has everything to do with the people they are playing with and not the rules themselves. Because the rules themselves have progressively moved ever further towards allowing the possibility of matching just about any race with any class and getting some benefit from it.
 

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