D&D 5E The Fate of the Smol

Hussar

Legend
That’s the problem though. You can absolutely have your weaker halflings. That’s 100% supported by the rules.

But I can’t have my strong halflings? Why not?
 

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That’s the problem though. You can absolutely have your weaker halflings. That’s 100% supported by the rules.

But I can’t have my strong halflings? Why not?
If you don't want the species to impact the rules, I don't understand why you would need dedicated species rules at all. Why not just use rules of goliath and refluff it as halfling?
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
That’s the problem though. You can absolutely have your weaker halflings. That’s 100% supported by the rules.

But I can’t have my strong halflings? Why not?
Because the entire point of rules is to enforce limitations, i.e. things you can't do, and some of those limitations are going to go toward supporting a sense of verisimilitude insofar as making choices appear to have meaningful impacts.

If you want to have a "halfling titan" who regularly beats goliath bodybuilders in arm-wrestling contests, there's nothing narratively wrong with that idea. But as it stands in D&D 5E, if we take it as a truism that a goliath bodybuilder will have a Strength of 20, then that means the best your halfling can do will be to beat them 50% of the time, since even if they also have a Strength of 20, that's the maximum Strength they can have under the rules (and even then, the goliath's powerful build feature will mean that they outclass your halfling in terms of lifting and carrying).

The simple truth of the matter is that no RPG supports all character ideas, nor do they attempt to, and the further you push past the intended goals of the system the more you'll find that your character idea doesn't fit the game very well. If you love superheroes, for instance, your attempts to play The Flash in your D&D 5E game won't be very satisfying. Neither will playing Goku if you're a fan of shonen manga.

It's the difference between the ideas of "you can be whatever you want" and "you can attempt to do anything." The latter is the RPG credo that I'm familiar with, but more and more people seem to want it to be the former, and chafe at finding out that it's not as expansive as they thought.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
What is "true" verisimilitude? Verisimilitude is simply the appearance of realism without necessarily being realistic which is generally what I'm looking for in a game like D&D.
So you're okay with halflings overpowering goliaths on the occasional strength endeavor, so long as on the character sheet it is written down that the halfling has lower strength?

Yeah... I don't see why anyone in design would ever see that as doing much of anything. "The number is lower, so it gives the appearance of halflings having much worse strength... even though there are going to be plenty of times where that is patently false."

That appears to me to be absolutely pointless, and I can certainly understand why the designers wouldn't go out of the way to put in those kind of restrictions onto the races if they don't actually accomplish what they are meant to do.
 

So you're okay with halflings overpowering goliaths on the occasional strength endeavor, so long as on the character sheet it is written down that the halfling has lower strength?

Yeah... I don't see why anyone in design would ever see that as doing much of anything. "The number is lower, so it gives the appearance of halflings having much worse strength... even though there are going to be plenty of times where that is patently false."

That appears to me to be absolutely pointless, and I can certainly understand why the designers wouldn't go out of the way to put in those kind of restrictions onto the races if they don't actually accomplish what they are meant to do.
If it is pointless, why we have different bonuses for different characters and creatures at all? Why wizard has a higher int bonus than the barbarian, why giant has a higher strength bonus than an orc? If these differences in ability modifier are pointless and do not represent anything, why they exist? Get rid of them. You can replace them with proficiency bonus, if you don't want to completely redo the game maths and it would be close enough.
 

le Redoutable

I mean you no harm
they have not the same Str, but Halflings may do Aimed attacks doing the work of a Find Weakness ( so damage increase ) ( if you catch up ! )
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If you don't want the species to impact the rules, I don't understand why you would need dedicated species rules at all. Why not just use rules of goliath and refluff it as halfling?
We don't need them. You are absolutely correct. The Race section of the book could write down and give us all the fluff of what these races are, and have no mechanical benefits or changes to them whatsoever.

But the designers don't want to do that. They want to give very minor mechanical benefits and changes to each of them. Now if you think those changes are too minor... that mechanically they each look too similar to each other... that's your right and your opinion. But hey... at least there's SOME difference for you... as we said, they could have given us no mechanical differentiation at all.

So the question for you is... are you an "all or nothing" person in this situation? You either want major changes and differences between races, or else don't bother with any at all and have it be purely flavor? That's certainly an option WotC could go with. They just choose not to.
 

le Redoutable

I mean you no harm
We don't need them. You are absolutely correct. The Race section of the book could write down and give us all the fluff of what these races are, and have no mechanical benefits or changes to them whatsoever.

But they don't want to do that. They want to give very minor mechanical benefits and changes to each of them. Now if you think those changes are too minor... that mechanically they each look too similar to each other... that's your right and your opinion. But hey... at least there's SOME difference for you... as we said, they could have given us no mechanical differentiation at all.
like in Warhammer 1st Ed where all weapons did 1d6 dmg :)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
like in Warhammer 1st Ed where all weapons did 1d6 dmg :)
Heh... even in olden-days D&D all weapons did the same amount of damage.

I mean it's not like the minor mechanical difference in weapon damage between all the weapons on the chart has any sort of basis in reality either. Getting thwacked by a ball-peen hammer is only a couple die sizes (and HP of damage) less than taking a crossbow bolt to the face (and don't even get us started on the damage from firearms). And yet we all seem relatively okay with that travesty of reality and don't make a big deal about it (except for the few who can't stand Rogue characters getting to make d8 damage attacks via the rapier instead of just d6s.)

Everyone has their own hill to die on regarding which rules in the game need to have more or less "reality" to them to make them happy. And no one will ever agree. And that's why I've just washed my hands of the entire endeavor-- the board game rules are the board game rules and do not and will not ever be a good representation of what is actually going on. So to get out of shape over them is just a waste of my time.
 
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That’s the problem though. You can absolutely have your weaker halflings. That’s 100% supported by the rules.

But I can’t have my strong halflings? Why not?
[Side Note - Define "Strong". As strong as a human, strong human (Bullroarer?), goliath, strong goliath? Any numerical value allowed by the rules regardless of how high?]

Because having Hervé Villechaize and Andre the Giant being able to dead lift the same amount without magic is jarring to the suspension of disbelief. Because having realism in the game means that you can apply your real-world experiences to the game world with reasonable extrapolations. Sure there is magic involved, but the baseline should have some reasonable extrapolations to our general experiences.

Now, I'm excluding a middle here. If you want to put a 15 in your halfling's strength go for it. But, the average goliath should be stronger than the average human which should be stronger than the average halfling. The strongest halfling should be weaker than the strongest goliath. Again, barring magic like a girdle of giant's strength.

The rules should encompass this, as well as having a sidebar to allow for generic, point based races where you can just play whatever you want without limitation.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I genuinely think that a lot of people would be happier with this. There is incessant complaints about any restrictions or limitations, as well as desire for approximately seven thousand new classes so that every imaginable character concept can be realised in exact detail.

That's not what I want from D&D, but I feel that a lot of people don't actually like the implications of a splat based game, but fail to understand the root of their problems as they have no experience of games other than D&D and its derivates.
Well the thing is, point-based games get way more complicated very quickly. I loved World/Chronicles of Darkness on paper, but every time I tried to actually introduce people to the game, just building a character was a massive chore. They’d have all these dots to spend and all these individual abilities with different dot costs, often with prerequisites of certain numbers of dots in other things, and it was just like… “There’s just no way to be casually into this game, is there?” If you’re not deeply invested, you’re going to struggle to keep track of the simplest things.

With D&D, you can pick a race, class, background, maybe a subclass, and that’s basically it. There are recommended builds you can follow if you don’t know where to put your ability scores and proficiencies. Very low buy-in, which is great for people who don’t hyper-focus on games like I do. But, once people get familiar with it, the depth doesn’t scale well. You can pick a different subclass, or put proficiency in different skills, but for the most part if you’ve played one rogue (or whatever), you’ve played them all. Spell choices are one of the only avenues a player who wants to get into character customization really have for doing so.

I think there’s got to be a happy middle ground between those extremes. The ability to just pick a splat and go, and the option to tailor your character just the way you want. Maybe alternate class features are the way to go to achieve that? I don’t know.
 
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Laurefindel

Legend
I understand the desire to keep the gap between big(ger) and small(er) creatures as narrow as possible, but I'd prefer granting a small benefit (ha!) to small creatures rather than making medium and small a difference in aesthetics only. Some kind of situational defensive bonus could be appropriate I guess. My preference would have been to give small races one additional perk to offset the small-size "negative trait", but that goes out the window if a choice of size is offered.

[edit] or perhaps changing the grappling rules to include a minimal size (i.e.: The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger or smaller than you and must be within your reach) would mean large creatures would suffer disadvantage on grapples against small creatures. It would also imply that huge and collossal creatures would also have disadvanatge on grapples against medium-sized creatures however.
 
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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
So barring a few rare circumstances, we're left with "being small either doesn't matter" or "it's a trap!". It's not the worst thing in the world, I guess. Feels a bit lame, but given that the game is designed to avoid complexity (except when it doesn't, lol), that's just the way it is.
 

The question is: To what degree does WoTC want to accept that biology/physicality effects what a person can or can't do? So far, they like most people I think, are hewing closer to hand waiving than important all the consiquences that such physically diverse races would bring.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
So barring a few rare circumstances, we're left with "being small either doesn't matter" or "it's a trap!".
This is overstating it, I feel. the "few rare circumstances" include all rogues, some rangers, artificers, and mounted characters. It's only a "trap" for specific builds of great weapon fighters/paladins.
 

CreamCloud0

Explorer
The question is: To what degree does WoTC want to accept that biology/physicality effects what a person can or can't do? So far, they like most people I think, are hewing closer to hand waiving than important all the consiquences that such physically diverse races would bring.
I think part of the problem is that they want to suggest biology can let you do additional things ‘more than the baseline’ but not suggest it can’t let you do other things, or at least puts you below the baseline
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If it is pointless, why we have different bonuses for different characters and creatures at all? Why wizard has a higher int bonus than the barbarian, why giant has a higher strength bonus than an orc? If these differences in ability modifier are pointless and do not represent anything, why they exist? Get rid of them. You can replace them with proficiency bonus, if you don't want to completely redo the game maths and it would be close enough.
To me, we have them purely to make the board game rules hopefully interesting to play. That's it. That's all there is to it. If the rules of rolling dice and adding numbers could work out where we only have one ability modifier rather than six... and the game could still be fun to play... then that's completely fine. You could have all characters have NO ability scores whatsoever and the entire dice rolling game could be about something other than your character's physical and mental abilities, and if those dice rolls can keep your interest up, then go for it.

There's not a single number and roll of the dice in the entire game that could be an accurate representation of anything whatsoever as far as I'm concerned. So to single out certain numbers as "That doesn't reflect reality! No halfling could ever be that strong!" is to my mind being completely blind to all the other ridiculous numbers that are just as stupid. Be standing dead center in the middle of a fiery explosion a la a fireball spell and come away with "Eh... that's only worth 8d6 damage." People get so worked up about halfling strength but don't have any concern for being able to walk away from being immolated.

And I suspect the designers at WotC feel kind of the same way... which is why they'd rather let players do what they want, rather than force them into select pigeonholes in an attempt to maintain a sense of reality. Or that could just be a happy coincidence. Either way... it's NEVER been something I could ever get that worked up about. Yeah, I might jokingly bitch about how the mechanics of barkskin don't make any sense and it's the worst spell in the game from a mechanics/fluff perspective... but I don't actually care. Cause if it mattered, I'd just change it myself when necessary. I'm not going to demand WotC actually re-write it (although I certainly wouldn't be upset if they eventually did, LOL.)
 

To me, we have them purely to make the board game rules hopefully interesting to play. That's it. That's all there is to it. If the rules of rolling dice and adding numbers could work out where we only have one ability modifier rather than six... and the game could still be fun to play... then that's completely fine. You could have all characters have NO ability scores whatsoever and the entire dice rolling game could be about something other than your character's physical and mental abilities, and if those dice rolls can keep your interest up, then go for it.

There's not a single number and roll of the dice in the entire game that could be an accurate representation of anything whatsoever as far as I'm concerned. So to single out certain numbers as "That doesn't reflect reality! No halfling could ever be that strong!" is to my mind being completely blind to all the other ridiculous numbers that are just as stupid. Be standing dead center in the middle of a fiery explosion a la a fireball spell and come away with "Eh... that's only worth 8d6 damage." People get so worked up about halfling strength but don't have any concern for being able to walk away from being immolated.

And I suspect the designers at WotC feel kind of the same way... which is why they'd rather let players do what they want, rather than force them into select pigeonholes in an attempt to maintain a sense of reality. Or that could just be a happy coincidence. Either way... it's NEVER been something I could ever get that worked up about. Yeah, I might jokingly bitch about how the mechanics of barkskin don't make any sense and it's the worst spell in the game from a mechanics/fluff perspective... but I don't actually care. Cause if it mattered, I'd just change it myself when necessary.
I don't need rules to be perfectly realistic, nor I would expect it from D&D. But I expect some base level of verisimilitude and representation. To me the purpose of the RPG rules is to represent the fictional reality and if they don't do that, I have no use for them.
 

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