D&D General Vote up a 5e-Alike: Ancestries! (First Draft)


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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Everything is great there except, maybe, the first part of Hobgoblin Mettal--learning weapons is more a cultural trait, I would think. But I would definitely give them the ability to wield heavy weapons without penalty!
ah that's true, maybe it could be instead be converted to an outsized might equivilant, make their STR equation match that of a medium creature, with the heavy weapon useage capability as a bit of a tag-on.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Only if we nix lighting rules so no one has to pretend to like using torches.
Humans and halflings seem to cope
ah that's true, maybe it could be instead be converted to an outsized might equivilant, make their STR equation match that of a medium creature, with the heavy weapon useage capability as a bit of a tag-on.
Wiry Might: As much as they are nimble and agile, goblin limbs are also suprisingly strong and wiry, You gain +1 to throw attacks and you can ignore the penalties of weilding heavy weapons as a small creature.
You also gain +1 to snatch an object from another creature*

* the snatch thing comes from my conception of goblins as nimble scavengers who rush in, snatch valuables and then dash away to hide. It links here due to disarm being a contested str test.

I’d also give goblins a Scavengers Resilience: Goblins often subsist on a questionable diet and thus have advantage on saving throws against poison and disease.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Ugh. The very idea of an Always Evil--or Always the Enemy--race makes me literally physically ill. Unless you decide that the "good" race (say, surface elves versus drow) are actually hateful, propaganda-spreading xenophobes who can't conceive of not being at war with their chosen scapegoats, the idea of an Always Evil/Enemy people isn't at all realistic to me. It's a good idea for a very specific type of campaign, if you remove alignments or explain that alignments are subjective, not objective. But for the standard type of game setting? Nope.
Always-Enemy works fine for the Indiana Jones franchise (Nazis), the Star Wars franchise (stormtroopers* and the Empire), and Lord of the Rings (Orcs); and if the concept is good enough for franchises like these it's more than good enough for D&D.

* - and that's in spite of the later SW movies having a stormtrooper turn good, as he's the exception that proves the rule.
And unnecessary. Fiends are basically evil-based elementals. Aberrations and undead are perversions of nature. Constructs are as evil as they were programmed to be. You could even do a "man versus wild" thing and say that fey and elementals are actively hostile to mortal life because they believe everything should return to its original, primal state. It makes sense to say that these beings lack free will, that they aren't people like drow or orcs are.

People at war? Sure. The human kingdom and the goblin kingdom could be at war and hate each other because of it--as long as there's a reason for the war. Land, resources, religious differences, grudges, old-fashioned racism--the standard things. Maybe the humans stole the goblins' lands (humans are good at that) and the goblins refuse to go quietly. Or vice versa; goblins could be the ones with the power. These things make sense, and it makes sense, then, that humans and goblins would want to kill each other. But that's not Always Evil/Enemy.

This is when you have to ask yourself what realism actually means. You can't say "it's realistic for orcs to be fantastically stronger than humans" and also say "orcs are people who are always evil."
Which is why I gave the alternate "Always-Enemy" idea. I'm very much a fan of alignment trends within species, but not of hard-coded lines. Thus, while Elves trend Chaotic as a societal average, that neither means nor implies that every Elf you meet will be Chaotic but it does mean that a Lawful Elf might or might not be a bit of an outcast within their society.
If an ability isn't going to be useful much of the time, it shouldn't be an ability that clutters up space on your character sheet.
I'd rather put it there once and leave it than have to redefine it when it comes up every five years. One of my current primary characters is (by random roll made when people's sketching ability became relevant in play for the first time) fairly good at sketching what she sees. I've been playing her on and off for 15 years now, and that ability has come up maybe 4 times in total. But it's still there on her sheet for future reference: "Sketching: 8/10".
You're missing the point. It's not how many dice you roll--and note that a lot of people, probably the majority of people, prefer point buy/stat array--it's that people want the be able to choose their character.
That ability to choose has, IMO, been extended way too far over the editions. Great for powergamers and optimizers, but I'd rather design against those people than for them.
Nobody should be forced to play a character they don't want to play. D&D isn't a job you have to put up with; it's supposed to be fun.
In theory, yes. In practice, nothing is fun all the time and to even consider broaching any sort of expectation otherwise is foolish. I mean, people play hockey because it's fun - until they take a puck in the face and suddenly for a while it ain't so much fun at all.

The other thing I try to fight against is players getting too attached to their characters. There's nothing worse as a DM than having to put up with a round of table angst and drama just because I killed off a character who was engaged in a dangerous profession (adventuring!) and got unlucky.
"Humans expletive-deleted Yeah!" It's the idea that humans are awesome in comparison to others species.

This is perhaps the most famous meme-style example of it (I hadn't realized bogleech had started it), but there's subreddits, TV Tropes pages, and a lot more dedicated to the concept.

I read an early story--perhaps among the first on r/HFY--that had the aliens decided to land amongst a crowd of humans in order to frighten, intimidate, and capture/kill them. Too bad for the aliens that the crowd they landed in was actually a hockey game.
Ah. Got it.

I've always seen Humans as being the bland baseline species; mostly because I'm so used to seeing them in reality.
In Level Up, humans, like other heritages, have several gifts to choose from. There's a "long-distance runner" gift, a "survivalist" gift, and a "hyperfocus" gift--the last of these made me, a person with both autism and severe ADHD, jump for joy, since this was actually acknowledging that being neurodiverse isn't all doom and gloom.

So what does this mean? It means dwarfs--and other heritages--tend to be less able to run for extended periods of time, less able to survive in the face of adversity, and less able to focus so completely on a task. And this is a good thing. It's pointing out differences not by saying how one people is less than the other, but by showing how all peoples have their own strengths.
Which is fine when it's a strength unique to that one species; but when there's a weakness unique to one species, what then?
Which means that if the DM chooses to not have an adventure take place on water and you don't write a background where your inability to swim is important, then you not being a good swimmer isn't important at all and might as well not exist. It's why I gave elves the ability to change their chosen terrain. IIRC, people have complained en masse for years about rangers being limited to a few terrain types and how it made the class useless. WotC finally addressed that in TCE by giving an (optional) replacement trait. I've learned from that.
Sorry, but I'm in the "too bad, so sad" camp on this one. If your ability (or lack thereof) comes up then so be it, and if it doesn't then so be that too.

That said, I'm coming at this from a perspective of designing for campaigns that run longer (or much longer) than just a single WotC-style adventure path; and thus assuming the characters will have time and opportunity to travel to different places, climates, etc., either by their own choice or because their adventuing takes them there.
This is a hard no from me. Maybe you're lucky in that you don't belong to a group that constantly has to deal with these unfortunate implications, but I do. And so do a lot of other gamers. But I will literally quit writing this game than knowingly include "unfortunate implications" in it, especially when there are other, more inclusive options.

Plus, this is stupid. Humans, no matter their origins here on Planet Earth, are all about as intelligent as one another. Medieval people were as smart as you and I are; we just have different types of education and different skill sets. The same is true for any other group of humans.
If the knowledge isn't there to learn then it doesn't matter how capable one is of learning it. The ancient Greeks didn't know how to make a cell phone or get to the moon; it took another 2000+ years of incremental discoveries, and while we today might be the same average intelligence as those old-time Greeks, there's no denying we all have greater breadth and depth of knowledge than they did.

And as the game stat "Intelligence" is in part a measure of one's breadth and depth of existing knowledge (in addition to one's capability to learn new things) then yes, there's no reason why one species or group or culture can't trend lower or higher Int than another.
In the real world, people who lived, or live, in tribal societies have fully-realized cultures, religions, histories, trade networks, artwork, crafting abilities, and everything else, and were hampered only by the materials they had available to them. You want tribal orcs? (or goblins or ogres or whatever) Then they also need need to be a fully-realized people. And that means no penalties to their mental stats. The only reason to make orcs low-Int is so people can think that they're just dumb savages that you can kill without risking an alignment change. And that is a bad reason, and I won't include reasons like that.
There's a wide range of intellgence levels in the real world - sure Humans are largely all the same but other species of ape are generally less intelligent than we are, by pretty much any measure there is. Why can't Goblins average roughly the same intelligence as the smartest of chimpanzees? Flip side: why can't Elves average considerably higher than Humans?
It still wouldn't work. To actually represent what you want it to, you would have to give it too much of a bonus so it becomes OP.

So you either do what a lot of other, story-first games do, and let the players be the judge of what their character can do while trusting them to be honest about it--or you stick to something that is balanced but not "realistic."
My suggestion is to take a middle ground: to have the bonus/penalty but not necessarily to the extent that true realism would demand. Hobbit strength goes from an extreme low of 3 (below which a two-legged creature can't stand up unaided) to an extreme high of 15; with the middle fo their bell-curce thus being 9
But it actively penalizes you, if only a bit, if you choose to play against type.
That's the point! Playing against type is supposed to be a challenge. If it wasn't, then it wouldn't be playing against type, would it?
And again, it's too setting-specific. There's no reason to assume that all or even halflings are built to be rogues, simply because, nearly 90 years ago, Tolkien wanted Bilbo to be a burglar and Gygax took that a little bit too much to heart.
Some classes require skills and abilities that suit some species better than others. Hobbits are small and generally quick and dextrous; all good things if one wants to be a rogue or thief. Doesn't mean they'll all become such, but they're suited for it. Dwarves are generally strong and stout; useful things if one wants to be a warrior even though not every Dwarf becomes one. And so on.

Where Humans win out is their versatility: theyre kinda good at most things but not the best at anything.
And why wouldn't they be?

First, yes, orcs are beefy and burly. A Strength 6 orc isn't going to have the wasted-looking noodle-limbs an incredibly weak human might. A Strength 6 orc might look like human who has a sedentary lifestyle, in terms of muscle mass.
Then it shouldn't be strength 6. It should be the same strength score as that sedentary Human.
So scrawny orcs might get mocked because they can't throw an orcball worth a damn, but there's still plenty of room for them to thrive in any other class out there. Bring on the Strength 6 orc thieves and priests and wizards!
Indeed. They're still exactly as strong (in an arm-wrestle or in what they can carry) as a strength-6 Elf or Human, though.
Except it's (A) a game,
Yes, it's a game. And a large part of that game revolves around luck - it's all a bit of a gamble. Were that not the case, the game wouldn't use dice.
so that "the universe is in charge" is a rule that can be changed, not an immutable fact, and (B) most people don't use dice to determine stats anymore.
That most people don't use dice to determine stats is a flaw, not a feature. Let's fix that flaw. :)
The game has to appeal to everyone.
It has to appeal to enough people to keep it viable. "Everyone" is an impossible goal, as 5e - which takes this very tack - shows in practice.

Side note: great conversation! I'm enjoying this back-and forth. Thanks. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Humans and halflings seem to cope

Wiry Might: As much as they are nimble and agile, goblin limbs are also suprisingly strong and wiry, You gain +1 to throw attacks and you can ignore the penalties of weilding heavy weapons as a small creature.
You also gain +1 to snatch an object from another creature*

* the snatch thing comes from my conception of goblins as nimble scavengers who rush in, snatch valuables and then dash away to hide. It links here due to disarm being a contested str test.

I’d also give goblins a Scavengers Resilience: Goblins often subsist on a questionable diet and thus have advantage on saving throws against poison and disease.
I'd put those two in to replace "Hobgoblin Mettle" and "Crafty Assistance".
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I'd put those two in to replace "Hobgoblin Mettle" and "Crafty Assistance".
i understand replacing hobgoblin mettle as that had been previously discussed but any particular reason why you picked crafty assistance as the other one to replace?
 


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