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D&D 5E Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Lineages & New Race/Culture Distinction

The latest Unearthed Arcana contains the Dhampir, Reborn, and Hexblood races. The Dhampir is a half-vampire; the Hexblood is a character which has made a pact with a hag; and the Reborn is somebody brought back to life.

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Perhaps the bigger news is this declaration on how race is to be handled in future D&D books as it joins other games by stating that:

"...the race options in this article and in future D&D books lack the Ability Score Increase trait, the Language trait, the Alignment trait, and any other trait that is purely cultural. Racial traits henceforth reflect only the physical or magical realities of being a player character who’s a member of a particular lineage. Such traits include things like darkvision, a breath weapon (as in the dragonborn), or innate magical ability (as in the forest gnome). Such traits don’t include cultural characteristics, like language or training with a weapon or a tool, and the traits also don’t include an alignment suggestion, since alignment is a choice for each individual, not a characteristic shared by a lineage."
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

You're working off the assumption, the opinion, that Wizards will make a point of avoiding complete character race builds whenever it's possible for them to turn that race into a variant of something already available. When that's not been their design philosophy for the overwhelming majority of new character races in 5E. When there are commercial reasons for them to do complete character race builds, as with the leonin.

The only thing Wizards has indicated will be changing is that future character race options won't have default ASIs. So until Wizards starts actually releasing products that studiously avoid full builds in favor of variant after variant... you'll forgive me if I'm going to expect them to follow previous patterns.

(There's also one more reason they would continue to do complete races or subraces: to continue the PHB+1 approach for Adventurers League. Telling you "this new race is kind of like kobolds, but change this" is useless if you can't also reference that other sourcebook. In fact, this may be another reason the leonin wasn't a tabaxi variant.)

The PHB + 1 Angle is one that I hadn't considered, and that actually makes a lot of sense to me as a potential reason.

Because while you keep saying that there design philosophy has been to make new races whenever possible, it really hasn't been. Pretty much every time they reference elves, dwarves, goblins, and orcs in a new setting, they wither reprint them or at most they give a variant.

And I think it is fair to look at the books like this as well.

PHB -> Dragonborn, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-Elf, Halfling, half-Orc, Human, Tielfing

Elemental Evil -> Goliath, Genasi, Aarcrockra

Volos -> Goliath (reprint), Aasimar, Bugbear, Firbolg, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kenku, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Orc, Tabaxi, Triton, Yuan-Ti

Ravnica -> Human (PHB), Elf (PHB), Goblin (Reprint), Centaur, Loxodon, Minotaur, Simic, Veldalken.

Eberron -> Dragonborn (PHB), Dwarves (PHB), Elves (PHB/Sidebar variant), Gnomes (PHB), Goblin (Reprint), Bugbear (Reprint), Hobgoblin (Reprint), Half-Elf (PHB), Hafling (PHB), Human (PHB), Half-Orc (PHB), Orc (Reprint), Tieflings (PHB) Changeling, Kalashtar, Shifters, Warforged

Theros -> Human (PHB), Centaur (Reprint), Minotaur (Reprint), Triton (Reprint), Leonin, Satyr

So, I think your hypothesis about the PHB + 1 is dead on. If you are in the PHB, you don't get a new write up usually. IF you were in Volos or Ravnica, you get a reprint. And then if you look back, they rarely repeat concepts after that. There is very little overlap in concept with any of these.

Which gets to my second point, and the one that is more a prediction and gut than anything I can back up with evidence. And that is, we've got them all. See, it is really easy to look at the PHB, see Volo's and go "aha, they will create more races, they did it here! And they did it in Eberron!"But the problem is, now that they have those races, they don't need to recreate them. I mean, if you wanted to make the Magic the Gathering Setting of Mirrodin, which is covered in constructs, do you make new races? Or do you adapt the Anvilwrought background, Warforged, and Reborn mechanics instead?

I find it very telling that in Theros they made the Anvilwrought a background choice, instead of a race. They could have made space for a new race there, but they went a different route. And I think going forward, since we have already covered so many different options, they are not going to be making as many new races.

Default ASIs only give you an "obvious decision" for the ASI for your character race. That's all. Not everyone is thinking about their race-class combo, or specific builds, or the like, when they make a character. Sometimes they pick their race, and then their class, and then their background, with only brief consideration, if any. They might choose their class because it's the archetype (elf wizard), they might choose it as an anti-archetype (elf melee fighter), or they might choose something because they just think it's neat (elf warlock). And quick builds are useful to folks like that, because they can just say, "I go with the default", and get to gaming. While that may not be the way you or others design characters, it works perfectly fine for some players.

Dude, I get that. What you aren't hearing is that if you say "I want to go with the default elf" then you still have to pick a class. You say Elf Wizard is the Archetype, but Elf Ranger is an archetype to. So is Elf Arcane Trickster. Elf Monk.

You have declared that Elf Wizard is the archetype, but nothing actually backs that up. That is what Faolyn was trying to get across to you, the guy who wants to play the "archetypical elf" but doesn't want to think about their ability score placement still has to think about their ability score placement.

Do you play a High Elf for +1 Int? Does that mean you play a Wizard or an Artificer?
Do you play a Wood Elf for +1 Wis? Does that mean you play a Ranger or a Monk?
Do you play Eladrin for +1 Cha? Does that mean you play a Warlock or a Bard or a Sorcerer?
Do you play a Sea Elf or a Shadar-Kai for +1 Con? Does that mean you want to play a ranged character, a rogue or something else?

It is actually almost hilarious to use elves for this example, because the only score you can't increase via elf is Strength.

And sure, maybe you pick you class first. You want to play a fighter.

Do you want to be melee or ranged?

Ranged fighters can be archetypical for elves, halflings, goblins, kobolds, bugbears, tabaxi, human, half-elf, changeling, warforged, air genasi, satyrs

Melee fighters can be archetypical for Orcs, half-orc, human, dragonborn, minotaur, goliath, firbolg, warforged, half-elf, changeling, earth genasi, leonin,


I'm not trying to say you are wrong that some people don't care and just pick things, but you are also trying to sell that they don't care and pick things, while simultaneously finding it too much work to just pick ASIs, because they want to play for or against type without having to choose. And I think it is fair to question that assertion when you remember that the ASIs alone have overlap with multiple classes.
 

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The campaign before last this was the make-up of our group:
  • yuan-ti sorcerer/rogue
  • drow paladin
  • gnome artificer
  • halfling monk
  • elven druid
  • variant human fighter
  • elven ranger
  • human cleric
All this, despite warnings from out GM that drow and yuan-ti are considered evil in the game. Yuan-ti are literally relegated to an island where they pirate people to use as slaves. Drow relegated to the underdark where they visit the surface only to steal or take slaves.

What happened? It was a big deal for the first session. Then was ignored because it was a pain to deal with that and the quest we were on. (And this is a GREAT DM.) Then it reprised at level seven or eight, but seemed random. Then it disappeared again forever.

Did it ruin the other players' game? No. We are there to have fun. Did it crash my immersion (and another player's)? Yes. My DM world-building sensibilities just couldn't get past it, even though the DM and player did a good job of playing the "there are grey areas of people's nature."

Perhaps you were not in the conversation in another thread. But I am not opposed to any race, even when they are deliberately being used to min/max. But I do like consistency in the DM's world, but also understand that if you have everything open, that consistency sometimes has to take a backseat to the overarching story.

Most recent campaign I am in has had these characters.

Genasi (homebrew) Psion
Human Fighter/Barbarian
Human Warlock/Artificer
Aasimar Bard/Sorcerer
Half Orc Cleric/Ranger
Elf Twilight Cleric (Subclass to prove that Tasha's exists for this group)
Human Wizard

I have been the only person in any group I've been in play a Yuan-Ti. Never had anyone play a Drow (sunlight sensitivity is too big of a downside). Never seen a Satyr, a Mountain Dwarf Wizard, pretty much none of it.

So, I'm sorry you had expeirence where two players wanted to play something and the DM couldn't make it work, but that doesn't counter the point that for the majority of us, these combos have not suddenly started flooding into every game.
 

dwarf and gnome make no sense as that is not logically possible.

And yet, @Crimson Longinus as claimed that a dwarves weapon training is just as innate to them as an Aacrockra's wings.

If we are going to take the route that all racial traits must be biologically based, and inborn, to the point where strength, weapon training and wings are all treated equally, then this is what we come up with.

For record, I think that is silly. Like you noted, it really doesn't make much sense. And yet, here we are.
 

Mind of tempest

Adventurer
And yet, @Crimson Longinus as claimed that a dwarves weapon training is just as innate to them as an Aacrockra's wings.

If we are going to take the route that all racial traits must be biologically based, and inborn, to the point where strength, weapon training and wings are all treated equally, then this is what we come up with.

For record, I think that is silly. Like you noted, it really doesn't make much sense. And yet, here we are.
we know of no such thing as instinctual advanced tool knowledge thus we must split the flesh from the ornaments of culture.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I know, just playing around. This threads on a loop at this point. I don't expect limits, restrictions, or caps to be a thing tied to lineage in an eventual 6e.
If limits, restrictions, minuses, or caps are likely not going to be tied to lineage in a future 6e, how might you envision lineage in way that could potentially address some of your primary concerns? Would you like, for example, more active abilities that a lineage may provide? More interesting lineage abilities?
 

And yet, @Crimson Longinus as claimed that a dwarves weapon training is just as innate to them as an Aacrockra's wings.

If we are going to take the route that all racial traits must be biologically based, and inborn, to the point where strength, weapon training and wings are all treated equally, then this is what we come up with.

For record, I think that is silly. Like you noted, it really doesn't make much sense. And yet, here we are.
I did not. The ASIs are equally innate, the proficiencies generally aren't. Though sometimes even they seem to be, like in the case of elves' keen senses. Problem is that the game doesn't really differentiate these things, they all just come in one package. Generally I wouldn't mind expanding backgrounds and moving cultural elements there. ASIs just aren't among those.
 

JEB

Adventurer
The PHB + 1 Angle is one that I hadn't considered, and that actually makes a lot of sense to me as a potential reason.
I hadn't thought of it until then either, but it seems kind of obvious in hindsight. (This could be part of why Wildemount is so packed full of reprints, too.)

Which gets to my second point, and the one that is more a prediction and gut than anything I can back up with evidence. And that is, we've got them all. See, it is really easy to look at the PHB, see Volo's and go "aha, they will create more races, they did it here! And they did it in Eberron!"But the problem is, now that they have those races, they don't need to recreate them. I mean, if you wanted to make the Magic the Gathering Setting of Mirrodin, which is covered in constructs, do you make new races? Or do you adapt the Anvilwrought background, Warforged, and Reborn mechanics instead?

I find it very telling that in Theros they made the Anvilwrought a background choice, instead of a race. They could have made space for a new race there, but they went a different route. And I think going forward, since we have already covered so many different options, they are not going to be making as many new races.
Yeah, I'll grant you that we might not see as many new races from this point on in 5E. But I think we can be assured there will be at least a few more complete character races, and not just the lineages like we saw in this UA. (A lot also depends on how much longer 5E will be running, and how many more campaign settings we see, since those are the primary sources for new races.)

I'm not trying to say you are wrong that some people don't care and just pick things, but you are also trying to sell that they don't care and pick things, while simultaneously finding it too much work to just pick ASIs, because they want to play for or against type without having to choose. And I think it is fair to question that assertion when you remember that the ASIs alone have overlap with multiple classes.
Sorry, I'm not actually seeing the contradiction here. Someone can be perfectly capable of not wanting to bother thinking beyond defaults, and yet also be aware of appropriate or inappropriate archetypes once they pick their race.

Someone could choose to be an elf ranged fighter because they noticed that default elves have a +2 to Dex; someone could also choose to be an elf ranged fighter (or ranger) because, now that they chose elf, they remember the Lord of the Rings movies and want to be Legolas.

Someone could also see that +2 to Dex, and decide, you know, I think it'd be more interesting to see how a melee elf fighter would work with those defaults; someone could also choose to be an elf melee fighter just because they specifically DON'T want to be Legolas, without once glancing at the ASI.

Someone could ignore all of that and want to be an elf warlock because the elves in the PHB look cool, and then they think warlocks sound awesomely wicked. (Those are also the players who often need to be reminded repeatedly of the rules while playing, but I don't begrudge them their fun.)

There are many paths to the same results, but what those share in common is that they're more concerned with other things than aiming for a particular race-class combo; they just want to put together a character and get to rolling dice.
 
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But here is the problem. If most of them are rubbish, then losing most of them isn't a big deal.
Well no. That would seem to be an obvious corollary of the fact that most of them are rubbish wouldn't it.

And yet @Crimson Longinus has put forth that they are obvious biological facts of these races which must be preserved to keep the game functioning on a narrative level.
What the rubbish ones? Or the ones that are not rubbish? What has another posters' opinions got to do with me anway?
People have described losing the +2 difference between a big race like goliath, orc, dragonborn or minotaur and a small race like halfling, gnome or goblin as "farcical" the example of the elephant and the mouse was a real example put forth as undeniable proof of how ridiculous removing that distinction is.
Really? Somehow I expect you're exagerrating. In any case you're replying to me. What do I care what 'people' think.
And yet, shift the conversation to the similarities between those races, a similarity that is a little harder to justify, and now the conversation shifts into "well we don't want to make a bad system worse" or "most of them are rubbish anyways, so why does it matter"
If you're arguing for the removal of something that serves a purpose without replacing it with anything with anything at all then you then you need to do better than argue that the thing you are removing doesn't serve it's purpose all that well.

Because, however, badly ASI serves their purpose right now, replacing them with nothing will serve that less. You don't get to argue from both sides at the same time.


But, then you sneak back in that some of them have to be obvious.

But you spotted it hey. I tried to be really sneaky by writing it in plain English prose as part of my reply, but you spotted it anyway even though it was plainly hidden in plain sight.

After all, a goliath being stronger than most other races is just like an Aarcrockra being born with wings, or a Dwarf being born knowing how to swing a battleaxe or a gnome being born knowing how to construct a music box or a tabaxi being born knowing how to hide and sneak.
Is it. That seems a bizarre line of argument. Some of those things seem obviously different.

Or is this part of parcel of your argument that ASIs need to be made more stringent and restrictive? Are you now looking to lead this thread into some kind of avante garde phase where you argue both sides at the same time and even within the same post?
 

Scribe

Hero
If limits, restrictions, minuses, or caps are likely not going to be tied to lineage in a future 6e, how might you envision lineage in way that could potentially address some of your primary concerns? Would you like, for example, more active abilities that a lineage may provide? More interesting lineage abilities?
First I would move most of the ASI out of lineage (not all), then have more passive benefits and add in Paragon type features that further differentiate a lineage.

I'd still lean on the expected tropes, and I'd probably add more mechanical difference between size.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I did not. The ASIs are equally innate, the proficiencies generally aren't. Though sometimes even they seem to be, like in the case of elves' keen senses. Problem is that the game doesn't really differentiate these things, they all just come in one package. Generally I wouldn't mind expanding backgrounds and moving cultural elements there. ASIs just aren't among those.
Since the UA has said it's not going to include ASIs as part of the racial package anymore, I think it's clear that WotC intends for the +2/+1 to not be biological in nature. While a 3pp, the Ancestrys and Cultures trio of books also puts those ASIs as purely cultural as well.
 

JEB

Adventurer
Since the UA has said it's not going to include ASIs as part of the racial package anymore, I think it's clear that WotC intends for the +2/+1 to not be biological in nature.
I wouldn't go that far. It seems more likely Wizards simply decided that fixed ASIs weren't worth the trouble, after the pushback they got for making Tasha's optional rather than default. I imagine their stance will be to leave the meaning of ASIs for individual players and DMs to decide. Note that in the sidebar they specifically addressed cultural traits, and alignment, and how they're not inborn, but the placement of ASIs as cultural vs. biological wasn't really addressed.

Of course, if they come out and definitively say that ASIs are no longer meant to be biological, that'd be different.
 

Faolyn

Hero
@Faolyn - Thanks for reading. I am trying to make this as succinct as possible.
Who?
Floating ASIs will allow the halfling to be more similar to the half-orc which now can be more similar to the elf.
vs.
Racial ASIs do not want the halfling to be more similar to the half-orc which now can be more similar to the elf.
Except that this affects the halfling PC, the orc PC, or the elf PC, not the entire halfling, orc, or elf race.

Because as I keep saying, if you, the DM, want halflings to as strong as a human but not as strong as an orc, then literally every single halfling in the world except maybe one PC is going to only as strong as a human but not as strong as an orc.

Which seriously, you object to halflings being as strong as half-orcs because they're so much tinier than half-orcs, but halflings are canonically as strong as humans, even though humans can be as tall as, or even taller than, a half-orc.

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How?
Floating ASIs view it through the window of race/class combinations. It will increase the number of halfling fighters, half-orc wizards and elven barbarians.
vs.
Racial ASIs view it through a race only window. They feel race and class are two separate components of the game.
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Wrong.

Floating ASIs view it as giving players a choice. I know you tried to pretend you weren't explaining my own beliefs to me, but allow me to repeat myself: it's about allowing players to customize their characters. Now maybe you would always put that +2 in your prime stat, but don't assume everyone is like that.

And even if that were the case, so what? You have been saying that it's OK to play an orc barbarian for that +2 Strength, but not OK to play a halfling barbarian with a +2 Strength. They're both the same, ASI-wise.

What?
Floating ASIs will increase the diversity of the race/class combinations by decreasing the diversity between the races.
vs.
Racial ASIs will increase the diversity between the races by decreasing the race/class combinations.
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Your racial ASI only increases diversity in the most banal sense. You want to increase diversity between races? Try creating cultures for your races. Even the barest bones culture for a race is better and more interesting than "diversity" in the sense of where the +2 goes. And by having racial ASIs to create diversity, you are (A) turning each race into a monolithic Race of Hats, and (B) effectively saying that all halflings are not only the same, but all halflings, kobolds, and elves all have the same culture.

If you are trying to say that halflings, kobolds, and elves in fact all have very different cultures, and each halfling is a person with their own interests and goals, then you don't need to have a static +2 Dex in there as well.

Seriously, there are lots of things to hang a racial culture on. Even if you don't go into details. I had some thoughts about orcs and came up with the skeleton of some orc cultures based solely on their diet. I haven't sat down and fleshed them out, but as is they're still more interesting than "orcs are strong."

There is no right or wrong here. Both sides have a legitimate claim about increased diversity depending on what window one views it through. It should be recognized it is a game with knobs and dials. Turn up the bass, it affects the treble.
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Why?
Why will the floating ASIs increase the diversity of race/class combinations?
Because there are a lot of players who won't play certain combos if there's no mechanical benefits. Because there are a lot of players who are encouraged to only think in terms of stereotypical combinations. Because there are a lot of players who have DMs who can't fathom the idea of a halfling who has become something other than Dex-based or an orc that has become something other than Strength-based and so won't allow it.

Floating ASIs allow people to say "I've been wanting to play race X, and I've been wanting to play class Y, and now I won't be penalized for doing so. This means my character will be more interesting to me and better able to contribute better to the party."

Racial ASIs say "I've been wanting to play race X, but it doesn't support my choice to play class Y. I can either play race X but not be as effective and possibly cause my party to suffer, or play race Y, which I don't want to do." (Because shockingly enough, one can roleplay quite effectively with high stats, and one can play up poor rolls caused by hateful dice--which can be much more fun than having to consistently play up a low stat.)
 
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Since the UA has said it's not going to include ASIs as part of the racial package anymore, I think it's clear that WotC intends for the +2/+1 to not be biological in nature. While a 3pp, the Ancestrys and Cultures trio of books also puts those ASIs as purely cultural as well.
Which is both absurd and potentially problematic. It is absurd to claim that six and half feet tall half orcs being stronger than three feet tall halfling is due their culture and not physiology. Furthermore, whilst fantasy species having different capabilities might be allegorically analogous to some racist real-world assumptions, assigning differing capabilities to people of same species based on their culture is directly and literally analogous to real world racist assumptions.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Which is both absurd and potentially problematic. It is absurd to claim that six and half feet tall half orcs being stronger than three feet tall halfling is due their culture and not physiology. Furthermore, whilst fantasy species having different capabilities might be allegorically analogous to some racist real-world assumptions, assigning differing capabilities to people of same species based on their culture is directly and literally analogous to real world racist assumptions.
Yes, that is true. The way it's currently done is also problematic, as it assumes many races are simply more intelligent, wise, or charismatic than others. Even saying some races are healthier than others is problematic for the exact same reasons.

The best way to get around it is to simply remove all racial ASIs whatsoever. Either let everyone put their +2/+1 where they want, or assign it to the classes. If you're a Fighter, you get a +2 in either Strength or Dexterity, your choice. If you're a Barbarian, you can choose Strength or Constitution. If you're a wizard, it goes in Intelligence. Etc. They're doing that in the Level Up playtest, although I believe they're putting the ASIs in background and not in class.

OTOH, what WotC is actually saying that the ASIs aren't biological; therefore, they can be placed wherever you want them to be. Whereas wings are biological in nature, and can't be given out willy-nilly. Here's the actual quote from the UA:

Following in [TCoE's] footsteps, the race options in this article and in future D&D books lack the Ability Score Increase trait, the Language trait, the Alignment trait, and any other trait that is purely cultural. Racial traits henceforth reflect only the physical or magical realities of being a player character who’s a member of a particular lineage. Such traits include things like darkvision, a breath weapon (as in the dragonborn), or innate magical ability (as in the forest gnome). Such traits don’t include cultural characteristics, like language or training with a weapon or a tool, and the traits also don’t include an alignment suggestion, since alignment is a choice for each individual, not a characteristic shared by a lineage​

If anything, it's slightly poor writing. The sentence should actually be "the race options...lack the Ability Score Increase trait and other traits that are purely cultural, including the Language and Alignment traits." Also note that breath weapon is considered racial, meaning that wings would be as well.

Of course, you can also assume that some traits, like Strength, are influenced by culture. A dwarf miner that spends its days hefting a pickax and mining for whatever or carrying loads of raw ore hundreds of feet out of the shafts is going to be stronger than an goliath priest that spends its days consulting the spirits and analyzing the stars. But here, "Miner" is a culture that should be independent of any race--you can have dwarf miners, orc miners, kobold miners, human miners, goliath miners... But again, that could be a background with an ASI, like in Level Up.

(However, why is it not absurd to accept that, by RAW, a three-foot tall halfling is as strong as a six-and-a-half foot human or tiefling?)
 

Yes, that is true. The way it's currently done is also problematic, as it assumes many races are simply more intelligent, wise, or charismatic than others. Even saying some races are healthier than others is problematic for the exact same reasons.

The best way to get around it is to simply remove all racial ASIs whatsoever. Either let everyone put their +2/+1 where they want, or assign it to the classes. If you're a Fighter, you get a +2 in either Strength or Dexterity, your choice. If you're a Barbarian, you can choose Strength or Constitution. If you're a wizard, it goes in Intelligence. Etc. They're doing that in the Level Up playtest, although I believe they're putting the ASIs in background and not in class.
Except if it problematic to say that differnt species have differnt capabilities, it is problematic regardless of the method you use to mechanically represent it (i.e. ASIs or features) hell, it would be problematic even if it was not represented mechanically at all but merely present in the fluff.

There literally are only two consistent stances with this. Either it is problematic to have fantasy species to be biologically different from each other and thus they should not exist, or it isn't problematic and then the discussion of how to represent that must is about other things such as balance. Of course even in the latter case there may be some specific depictions that are problematic such as it is the case with the orcs and the drow.

OTOH, what WotC is actually saying that the ASIs aren't biological; therefore, they can be placed wherever you want them to be. Whereas wings are biological in nature, and can't be given out willy-nilly.
Yes, but that is absurd. There already is a method for representing individual variation, roll/point buy.

(However, why is it not absurd to accept that, by RAW, a three-foot tall halfling is as strong as a six-and-a-half foot human or tiefling?)
It is absurd. However I would prefer the situation to be made less absurd, not more absurd.
 

I did not. The ASIs are equally innate, the proficiencies generally aren't. Though sometimes even they seem to be, like in the case of elves' keen senses. Problem is that the game doesn't really differentiate these things, they all just come in one package. Generally I wouldn't mind expanding backgrounds and moving cultural elements there. ASIs just aren't among those.

You did, right here:


You can swap the flight for one of their racial features. And yes, no one is talking about doing that, but the logic you espouse supports that just as well.


You said that the logic of changing ASIs is the same as swapping any dwarven racial feature for flight. Therefore, we can't change ASIs just as we can't change that dwarves start with a tool proficiency just like we can't change that Aarcrockra fly.

And I agree there are things that seem to be very innate and somethings that don't. And somethings that could be either way depending on how you wanted to run them. Do Elves have proficiency in Perception because of innately keen eyes and ears? Or do they have it from a culture of observation, of paying deep and close attention to subtle shifts in art, song, dance, and nature?

Either could work in my opinion, and neither have anything to do with ASIs
 

I hadn't thought of it until then either, but it seems kind of obvious in hindsight. (This could be part of why Wildemount is so packed full of reprints, too.)

Yep, because Mercer wanted to have people who just bought that book capable of playing the whole game.

Yeah, I'll grant you that we might not see as many new races from this point on in 5E. But I think we can be assured there will be at least a few more complete character races, and not just the lineages like we saw in this UA. (A lot also depends on how much longer 5E will be running, and how many more campaign settings we see, since those are the primary sources for new races.)

I can agree with this. If the game is going to last another decade we might get some new full races, but if it is only lasting three years, probably not.

Sorry, I'm not actually seeing the contradiction here. Someone can be perfectly capable of not wanting to bother thinking beyond defaults, and yet also be aware of appropriate or inappropriate archetypes once they pick their race.

Someone could choose to be an elf ranged fighter because they noticed that default elves have a +2 to Dex; someone could also choose to be an elf ranged fighter (or ranger) because, now that they chose elf, they remember the Lord of the Rings movies and want to be Legolas.

Someone could also see that +2 to Dex, and decide, you know, I think it'd be more interesting to see how a melee elf fighter would work with those defaults; someone could also choose to be an elf melee fighter just because they specifically DON'T want to be Legolas, without once glancing at the ASI.

Someone could ignore all of that and want to be an elf warlock because the elves in the PHB look cool, and then they think warlocks sound awesomely wicked. (Those are also the players who often need to be reminded repeatedly of the rules while playing, but I don't begrudge them their fun.)

There are many paths to the same results, but what those share in common is that they're more concerned with other things than aiming for a particular race-class combo; they just want to put together a character and get to rolling dice.

The contradiction comes in where you suddenly have them upset at the idea of making a decision with a floating ASI. If deciding between an Elven Fighter, Ranger, Monk, Wizard, Artificer, Rogue, or ect isn't a decision that is going to slow them down or upset them why is +2 to one of six options a problem?

I know it is about potential archetypes, but the point is that +2 strength +1 Con isn't just a Fighter Archetype, it is a Barbarian Archetype, it is good for rangers and paladins, it is really a "strength based melee" archetype and that is much broader, so you could put you +2 in strength for any of them for that same archetype, because there is overlap between multiple races and multiple classes. And if that overlap isn't a problem, then the idea that having that settled +2/+1 solves what is basically the exact same problem of archetypical solutions, is hard to figure out.
 

Well no. That would seem to be an obvious corollary of the fact that most of them are rubbish wouldn't it.


What the rubbish ones? Or the ones that are not rubbish? What has another posters' opinions got to do with me anway?

Really? Somehow I expect you're exagerrating. In any case you're replying to me. What do I care what 'people' think.

If you're arguing for the removal of something that serves a purpose without replacing it with anything with anything at all then you then you need to do better than argue that the thing you are removing doesn't serve it's purpose all that well.

Because, however, badly ASI serves their purpose right now, replacing them with nothing will serve that less. You don't get to argue from both sides at the same time.

I'm chunking a lot of this.

So firstly, I'm not exaggerating. A poster did put forth that the difference in strength between a halfling and a goliath was as logical and grounded in realism as the difference in strength between a mouse and an elephant. If you are really curious who, you can use the search function for the thread and likely find them

Following from that, it gets to be incredibly difficult to have a coherent conversation if everyone is just assuming their own reality within the discussion. You want to keep static ASIs, they want to keep static ASIs, and I'm sorry if you don't like it but part of my debate involves debating them too, just because you don't care doesn't mean I can just ignore them, because inevitably I end up arguing a point with you that they take to attack my point against them, and then make me seem like I am a hypocrite because I argued two different position against two people engaging in two different arguments.

And so we get to the meat of the debate. If the majority of ASIs are rubbish, then they are not doing a job. It is as simple as that. If the idea of a Goblin having a +1 Con is a useless trash idea, then it serves no purpose. And if the majority of these are trash then getting rid of them won't hurt anything.

Also, we are not replacing them with "nothing" we are replacing them with floating ASIs. Which allows the player to impart their own ideas about what the ASI means into their story. Maybe they have +1 Con because the draconic blood in their veins has made them tough. Maybe because they are a heavily scarred, hard drinking badass, maybe because they come from deep in the mountains, who knows. It becomes a part of the way to explore what is important to their character. Or maybe not. Maybe they have it because they have it and it doesn't matter. Either way works for the system.

And if it isn't defining for the race... then it is at least as good as the current system.

But you spotted it hey. I tried to be really sneaky by writing it in plain English prose as part of my reply, but you spotted it anyway even though it was plainly hidden in plain sight.

Oh you are so funny, because clearly no one ever tries to hide things in text by saying one thing then suddenly switching to a different thing. My use of plain English prose was the same as yours after all.

Is it. That seems a bizarre line of argument. Some of those things seem obviously different.

Or is this part of parcel of your argument that ASIs need to be made more stringent and restrictive? Are you now looking to lead this thread into some kind of avante garde phase where you argue both sides at the same time and even within the same post?

It was meant to be obviously different to highlight to absurdity of the claim. Obviously they are different, so why are we going to treat them all as being the same?
 

You did, right here:

You said that the logic of changing ASIs is the same as swapping any dwarven racial feature for flight. Therefore, we can't change ASIs just as we can't change that dwarves start with a tool proficiency just like we can't change that Aarcrockra fly.
I compared swapping one ASI to another ASI to swapping some dwarf racial feature to flight. But yeah that's the deal with 'but PCs are special' thing, if a super strong halfling can be a special god-blessed halfling then a winged dwarf can also be a special blessed dwarf. And that's perfectly fine logic, it is just weird that people are willing to apply this 'specialness' to one area and want it to be baked in the default rules and still consider same logic applied to another area ridiculous. But ultimately if PCs are special and need not to conform limitations of their species and rules are only for creating PCs, then it is obviously pointless to have splat based lineages at all. Just have a list of traits and features people can choose from and then justify it how they see fit.

And I agree there are things that seem to be very innate and somethings that don't. And somethings that could be either way depending on how you wanted to run them. Do Elves have proficiency in Perception because of innately keen eyes and ears? Or do they have it from a culture of observation, of paying deep and close attention to subtle shifts in art, song, dance, and nature?

Either could work in my opinion, and neither have anything to do with ASIs
Of course it has a lot to do with ASIs, as those are just one type of racial trait and to which all these same considerations apply.
 

Except if it problematic to say that differnt species have differnt capabilities, it is problematic regardless of the method you use to mechanically represent it (i.e. ASIs or features) hell, it would be problematic even if it was not represented mechanically at all but merely present in the fluff.

There literally are only two consistent stances with this. Either it is problematic to have fantasy species to be biologically different from each other and thus they should not exist, or it isn't problematic and then the discussion of how to represent that must is about other things such as balance. Of course even in the latter case there may be some specific depictions that are problematic such as it is the case with the orcs and the drow.

Really? It is problematic for me to assume that my overweight math professor isn't as strong as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson?

Also, here is something fun. The Rock is strong right? Stronger than average at least. Vin Diesel is strong right? Stronger than average at least. And yet Vin Diesel is significantly shorter and lighter. By 5 inches and 35 lbs.

Are you curious about the difference between the Average Human and the Average half-Orc? 2 inches and 30 lbs. So, the difference between a +2 race and a +0 race is less than the difference between two very strong humans. Oh, and neither of them are the "strongest" as the current "strongest man in the world" is Oleksii Novikov who is 4 inches shorter than The Rock and about 30 lbs heavier.

And do you know what else I would say is funny? I bet you that Vin Diesel and The Rock both have better stage prescence than either the math teacher or Novikov. And that the Math teacher is likely better at calculating equations in their head than any of the others.

Because, it isn't "Biological Essentialism or Culutural Racism" as a binary choice. There is a third option. People are skilled at what they do. And yes, you can claim that that is represented by a 15 or by proficiency in a skill or any number of other things, but the hard truth is to be "good at what you do" in DnD, you need the stat and proficiency. It is just how the game is designed.
 

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