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Level Up (A5E) Where to put ability bonuses during character creation

Where should ability bonuses go?

  • In the race/species

    Votes: 26 17.0%
  • In the culture

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • In the background

    Votes: 12 7.8%
  • Totally freeform, wherever you like

    Votes: 24 15.7%
  • No ability bonuses, maybe an extra species feature instead

    Votes: 22 14.4%
  • Split between species/culture/background (say +1 from each?)

    Votes: 42 27.5%
  • Some other option

    Votes: 25 16.3%

  • Total voters
    153

CapnZapp

Legend
Might work, but I would not go with penalty/bonuses, rather with limit on maximum score at character creatiton or general max score.
The effect is much the same: minmaxing players will avoid strength builds when making a woman hero. Of course, you need to talk with your group, as to avoid any lingering resentment over this.

It is best if everybody agrees female Schwarzeneggers have no place in campaigns based on classic Howardian literature, or settings based on mythic Greece/Scandinavia (etc). Traditional gender roles are not inherently harmful and should not be swept under the rug - not when the campaign is set specifically in times or locales where it is a fundamental assumption of the source literature and inspiration, imo.

I am merely making the observation that in my opinion more campaign authors should have the courage to spell this out, as opposed to leaving it unaddressed (and up to each play group).

YMMV
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
Red Sonja, Amazons, Shield Maidens, Valkyries? Any of this rings a bell?
If you characterize Red Sonja as a "female Schwarzenegger" more power to you.

Myself, I don't. And since Red Sonja clearly has a feminine body type, as opposed to bulging with testosterone and muscle, I consider her prowess more a function of high level then having maxed out her Strength ability score.

So Red Sonja is actually a good example - I'm thinking something like a level 16 Dex-based Fighter can do the things she can do. I'm not here to hinder players from creating female heroes. I'm discussing physical feats of brute strength, not general combat capacity or overall adventuring prowess.

PS. None of this has anything to do with Level Up directly. I specifically state that I do not consider the topics discussed in this aside "crucial to generic D&D". DS.
 

Undrave

Hero
It is best if everybody agrees female Schwarzeneggers have no place in campaigns based on classic Howardian literature, or settings based on mythic Greece/Scandinavia (etc).
I disagree. I don't know why such characters would be out of place.

A lot of value judgement put on ancient culture feel like they stem more out of Victorian sensitivity than any reality. I feel like, for a lot of culture, women weren't warrior not because they couldn't do it, but because their uterus were too important a resource to risk in battles. When infant mortality is high, being able to pop out more people than your adversaries (thus more worker, more soldiers, and more mothers) become an important strategic concern.

In a world where healing magic is a thing, I think this concern shouldn't be as important.

Furthermore, your comment just dismiss transwomen as invalid character choices, which I don't think is cool.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I'm not actively dismissing anything.

It should be possible to say you're all NN, without people that identify as MM in real life getting offended. Please don't make it impossible to enforce restrictions or limitations in pretend Elf-games by taking it personal.

In my vision of sword and sorcery men have the "strength" defining power, where men that aren't as strong are considered inferior (and might become bitter and even turn to the black arts).

Women have "allure" as theirs, and being curvy and attractive is almost a magical power to fascinate men. Be plain, and be ignored.

Choose one or the other. You can play as Schwarzenegger with boobs another time.

Is this exaggerated, unfair and unrealistic? Yes. You want to call it Victorian? Fine.

Why? I'm not endorsing it. I just want to place a campaign in it!

Does it make a statement on how I think the real world should be? No. In this vision, slavery (and corruption, inequality, hunger, prostitution, etc...) is rampant. Does this mean I endorse slavery? No.
 
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Crimson Longinus

Adventurer
I'm not actively dismissing anything.

It should be possible to say you're all NN, without people that identify as MM in real life getting offended. Please don't make it impossible to enforce restrictions or limitations in pretend Elf-games by taking it personal.

In my vision of sword and sorcery men have the "strength" defining power, where men that aren't as strong are considered inferior (and might become bitter and even turn to the black arts).

Women have "allure" as theirs, and being curvy and attractive is almost a magical power to fascinate men. Be plain, and be ignored.

Choose one or the other. You can play as Schwarzenegger with boobs another time.

Is this exaggerated, unfair and unrealistic? Yes. You want to call it Victorian? Fine.

Why? I'm not endorsing it. I just want to place a campaign in it!

Does it make a statement on how I think the real world should be? No. In this vision, slavery (and corruption, inequality, hunger, prostitution, etc...) is rampant. Does this mean I endorse slavery? No.
Please never write a game!
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
While not crucial to generic D&D, I believe there is nothing wrong with sword & sandals campaigns (like Conan, or maybe ancient Greece) that add in a marked strength disparity between genders.

At least for humans (and these campaigns are often much more human centric, offering few to no non-human humanoid choices during character generation)

5th Edition already provides ample support for "Dex fighters". Barring females from "hulking brute" strength builds is therefore a much smaller limitation than in many other editions of the game. Small enough that enforcement of gender disparity on Strength is a non-fatal intrusion in the game's menu of choices, in my opinion.
Support for gender-based ability score adjustments or limitations has a long and misogynistic history in this hobby. I don't want to see arguments for that on this site, please.
 

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