D&D 5E The Fate of the Smol

Another way to phrase the question: should a goliath barbarian be meaningfully stronger than a halfling barbarian?

If no - then race can't meaningfully impact strength. And if race can't do it, size (which flows from race) can't either. If you think the goliath should be stronger, than you need to allow for halfling barbarians to be a meaningfully weaker choice - which means not all race/class combos can be balanced.

I don't think there's a wrong answer, but I do think WotC have made their choice and that's what it's going to be for the foreseeable.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'll be frank- yes, I want strong races to be stronger than weaker races, agile races to be quicker than non agile races, and so on. But 5e isn't about that. All a race gives you is a leg up towards an eventual goal, thanks to the cap of 20 on ability scores. Already proficiency bonus is more impactful to a character than their ability score modifier by the highest levels of the game, and I can totally see some future edition just doing away with ability score numbers entirely, and just having modifiers.

Derived attributes from ability scores are almost nonexistent outside of Strength, with carry capacity and jump distance. I wouldn't be surprised to see carry capacity go away in future editions as well, instead being relegated to optional rules.'

The future I am seeing is that all choices will one day be equally valid, but in the least interesting way possible.
 



Hussar

Legend
This is a bad argument. D&D contains a codified set of rules making it easier for people to sit down at a table and play the game with strangers. You might as well rail against being forced to have elves at your table with dark vision or complain about being forced to allow Barbarians to rage.

I guess whoever writes the rules. And right now at least, the trend is to make each "race" more bland. To take away anything that makes them unique. While I don't particularly care for that choice, nobody is "forcing" me to do anything.

I disagree. What is being done now is to shift the choice of what makes your character unique onto the player. You can go traditional or not. It’s 100% up to you.

If we insist that all of a race must be good/bad then we just have cookie cutter characters. How is that not more bland? Every halflings is a Dex based fighter. People choose the race based on how that race fits with their class.

After the third archer elf it gets pretty repetitive.
 


Hussar

Legend
Then take this design principle and apply it logically. The current rules still restrict what sort of character you can create. If a halfling can be as strong as a half-orc, why cant they have dark vision or wings? Why classes limit what sort of spells you can cast, what sort of features you get? Why you want to force these limitations on me? If we do away with races and classes altogether, then people who don't want their orcs to have wings can just not choose the wings feature, and people who don't want their paladins to cast fireballs, can just not choose the fireball spell and so forth.

Wow. The slippery slope argument here is a ski jump.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Here's the thing though:

One way allows you to still build a sad halfling that sucks at melee and feel real versimiltuinous about it while I can still build a halfling that is good at the concept I built them for.

The other way I get nothing.

One way everyone can make what they want. The other, only the simulaitonist wins.
Yep, same as the difficulty in video games argument (which has cropped back up lately due to the recent release of Elden Ring.) If a game has multiple difficulty modes, different people can play at the difficulty mode they enjoy. If a game has only one difficulty mode, only people who like that level of difficulty can enjoy it. Adding more modes takes nothing away from people who are happy with the default difficulty, while making the game more enjoyable for everyone else.
 
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That’s just bizarre.

Currently you can absolutely play what you want and so can I.

In the old system I cannot without changing the rules.

But the old system is better? :erm:
Yes, the old way was better since all you had to do was ignore the recommendations. These books are not holy writ, it is okay to change or ignore whatever rule you wish.

Good evening.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Yes, the old way was better since all you had to do was ignore the recommendations. These books are not holy writ, it is okay to change or ignore whatever rule you wish.

Good evening.

So let’s see if I understand this clearly.

We have two systems.

In one system everyone gets to play what they want.

In the other system only some people get to play what they want and everyone else has to change the rules to play what they want.

I’m sorry but how is this not wanting to force your preferences on other people?
 

So let’s see if I understand this clearly.

We have two systems.

In one system everyone gets to play what they want.

In the other system only some people get to play what they want and everyone else has to change the rules to play what they want.

I’m sorry but how is this not wanting to force your preferences on other people?
Yes, you are wanting to force your preferences on other people.

Right now I am going to assume that I have lost track of the conversation and that you are not actually being astoundingly arrogant. I have had some very long days lately and am probably getting lost in the weeds of an argument that is mostly of a semantic nature.

As I have stated before, you have your way to play, I have mine, and they are both valid. Do as you wish, and enjoy your time with friends.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
It ain't that difficult to understand.

In the current system that removes all ability modifiers to races... those who think large races should be stronger than small ones can easily have that by just not having small races point buy STR past a certain point. The small race player CHOOSES to accept the "reality" of size differential and just place their lower stats in strength. Same way they put their lower numbers into DEX for what they consider a "less agile" race. This can be done with no changes of the rules whatsoever. You can have weak halflings and unwise gnomes and stupid halforks all you want just by where you yourself place your stats. While at the same time... those who want halforks to possibly have really good INTs in order to play halfork wizard characters that are just as good as any other wizard can do so... also with no changes to the rules.

But why does this not work for people? Quite frankly I've always attributed to ego. Many D&D players across the board tend to want to play really, really smart. They want to play to the best of their abilities. And thus... if they determine there's a certain style of game they want (in this case, races having a bit of reality thrust upon them with their ability scores), they need the game to force that reality upon them. They need the game to say "Your halflings can't start with a STR higher than 15"... so that way if/when they choose to play a halfling fighter they can build it to be the best gosh-darn fighter they can make with the rules given, while still having their verisimilitude held up by the halfling being weaker than the halfork.

But if the game doesn't have that restriction... they have to purposefully choose to make a weaker build. They now have to go through the entire campaign knowing they intentionally nerfed themselves right at the start, and they will always have that bugaboo in the back of their heads every time things go sideways. They will always have that thought "Well geez, if I was at max like I could have been, maybe this whole problem wouldn't have happened." They didn't "play smart" when they made their character, they played to theme instead. And while losing the game while doing your best within the rules given is palatable... losing the game when you could have made better choices but intentionally chose not to is not.

And they'd rather force all other players to play like they do by keeping rules like racial ability score bonuses and/or penalties in the game.
 

It ain't that difficult to understand.

In the current system that removes all ability modifiers to races... those who think large races should be stronger than small ones can easily have that by just not having small races point buy STR past a certain point. The small race player CHOOSES to accept the "reality" of size differential and just place their lower stats in strength. Same way they put their lower numbers into DEX for what they consider a "less agile" race. This can be done with no changes of the rules whatsoever. You can have weak halflings and unwise gnomes and stupid halforks all you want just by where you yourself place your stats. While at the same time... those who want halforks to possibly have really good INTs in order to play halfork wizard characters that are just as good as any other wizard can do so... also with no changes to the rules.

But why does this not work for people? Quite frankly I've always attributed to ego. Many D&D players across the board tend to want to play really, really smart. They want to play to the best of their abilities. And thus... if they determine there's a certain style of game they want (in this case, races having a bit of reality thrust upon them with their ability scores), they need the game to force that reality upon them. They need the game to say "Your halflings can't start with a STR higher than 15"... so that way if/when they choose to play a halfling fighter they can build it to be the best gosh-darn fighter they can make with the rules given, while still having their verisimilitude held up by the halfling being weaker than the halfork.

But if the game doesn't have that restriction... they have to purposefully choose to make a weaker build. They now have to go through the entire campaign knowing they intentionally nerfed themselves right at the start, and they will always have that bugaboo in the back of their heads every time things go sideways. They will always have that thought "Well geez, if I was at max like I could have been, maybe this whole problem wouldn't have happened." They didn't "play smart" when they made their character, they played to theme instead. And while losing the game while doing your best within the rules given is palatable... losing the game when you could have made better choices but intentionally chose not to is not.

And they'd rather force all other players to play like they do by keeping rules like racial ability score bonuses and/or penalties in the game.
Right. This is all roughly true. But the rest of the game actually is built on limitations. We could apply this logic consistently. Why not just remove all limits from the races and classes? If you want darkvision, you take it. If you want to have wings, you take them. If you want cast fireballs, you take it. If you want have a rage feature, you take it. Then people can just self-limit themselves in a way they want to. Why it is fine for the game to dictate to limit some things but not others? What's the logic here?

It just seems hypocritical to me when people fixate on this one tiny aspect of the game that they personally have an issue with and say it should be handled via self-limiting instead of rules setting the limitations, yet applying the exact same logic to any other aspect of the game is somehow absurd hyperbole. I just want the game to have coherent and consistent design principles. Either the splats exist to mechanically define and limit things, or they don't and people build what they want and set their limits themselves. Neither of these design principles is objectively better or worse, and I've enjoyed a lot of games with the latter. Though I feel the former is better for D&D.
 

Just use the original books if you don’t like the changes in the new ones?

To paraphrase Mike Shea: the gaming police aren’t going to come to our tables and take our old books
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Yes, and that will happen. In the past, it was common for gaming groups to not use all the books. 5e's culture, to this point, however, has formed in such a way that people DO want to use all the books (which causes some backlash when they try to innovate and do things differently for different settings- just stroll on over to your local Dragonlance UA thread for details).

If this results in a situation where a good chunk of the player base rejects the new design, well, WotC has broken their base before, and it was pretty bad all around. They killed one game line and took 5 years before giving people a new one. And if you have any experience with the DND Next Playtest, many of the unique, cool ideas they had were mysteriously missing from the final product.

If I end up running another 5e game under the new paradigm, I think what I will say is that, yes, you can play the World's Strongest Gnome if you want to. Or a tall, lanky Bugbear with Strength 10 and high Dexterity. But the setting will treat you as an outlier- all the other Gnomes and Bugbears out there will treat you the same way we treat a human woman who is 7' 7" tall- awe, surprise, and maybe a little fear.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Anyone remember playing competitive Smash Brothers and there was always That Guy who insisted the only way to play was Final Destination, Fox only, no items?

I feel like that whenever WotC tries to open up the game by adding options.

ASIs! No Feats! No magic items.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
If I end up running another 5e game under the new paradigm, I think what I will say is that, yes, you can play the World's Strongest Gnome if you want to. Or a tall, lanky Bugbear with Strength 10 and high Dexterity. But the setting will treat you as an outlier- all the other Gnomes and Bugbears out there will treat you the same way we treat a human woman who is 7' 7" tall- awe, surprise, and maybe a little fear.
What.

Count me out of 'we', mate.

I'm not shocked and terrified at WNBA games.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Was that a bad example? It was the first thing I thought of when thinking about someone who is physically very different than the average human.
 

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