Proposal for racial stat differences -- ceilings rather than penalties.

Stat ceilings (last seen in 2nd edition) used to be really rancid, because in 2nd edition you really only got bonuses at the high end of the stats. (For example, 16 STR was either +1 to hit, +1 damage, or maybe even just +1 damage. Even 18/50 was just +1/+3.)
However, with the flatter stat bonuses in 3.x and 4.0, would it make sense to have a stat ceiling? For example, halflings would have a stat ceiling of 16 on STR (at level 1), rather than a -2.
Personally, I am a fan of not having any modifiers for stats regarding race.  If you want to show that their culture has taught them to utilize a skill or weapon or whatever a bit better than others, that's great.  But to say one race is smarter than another is a bit, well, racist.  Wink

I think I would prefer stat ceilings to stat modifiers. However, if that is the case, and the game gives out regular bonuses to stats the way 4e and SWSE do, stat ceilings will have to grow with level. 

My prefered system is stat penalties BEFORE point buy. So the difference between an orc with 18 strength and a halfling with 18 strength, is 4 build points.
Personally, I am a fan of not having any modifiers for stats regarding race.  If you want to show that their culture has taught them to utilize a skill or weapon or whatever a bit better than others, that's great.  But to say one race is smarter than another is a bit, well, racist.  Wink



A cheetah is a faster runner than a human.  Is this racist to say?

You're forgetting that we're not talking about different 'races' of human.  We're talking about different species entirely, and different species will have different qualities.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
     Stat ceilings in a 4e system are simply a way to ban that race from certain classes [and if you included later stat raises in this, you would completely ban that race-class combination. ]
      Now a penalty does much the same thing, but it is an easier to understand system & the idea that the races vary by only two in a stat is rather silly.
     Stat ceilings in a 4e system are simply a way to ban that race from certain classes [and if you included later stat raises in this, you would completely ban that race-class combination. ]
      Now a penalty does much the same thing, but it is an easier to understand system & the idea that the races vary by only two in a stat is rather silly.



Only if your players are min/maxing.

Warder 

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If it's a choice between stat ceiling and stat penalty, I'll take the ceiling. A 16 stat is already reasonably expensive and an 18 is incredibly expensive, so not being able to get an 18 shouldn't be that awful a penalty.

What about stat bonuses, though? I don't like the way it's done now, making one combination of race/class better than another. A stat minimum makes no sense, though. Who wants a Con below 8 in the first place? 
     Stat ceilings in a 4e system are simply a way to ban that race from certain classes [and if you included later stat raises in this, you would completely ban that race-class combination. ]
      Now a penalty does much the same thing, but it is an easier to understand system & the idea that the races vary by only two in a stat is rather silly.



Only if your players are min/maxing.

Warder 


 not at all. The introduction of main-to-hit-stat which everyone tries to max out as well as possible has lead to this.

It is just not very funny to not be able to do your job just because you don't hit. This has nothing to do with min/maxing (which is: minimizing your flaws while maximizing your strength) but with "reasonable building".
Maybe an elf or an avenger (or anything that can reroll on a regular basis) can afford to not max out their main stat, but others simply can't. At least not as long as D&D keeps its linear stat progression. With a logarithmic one we could have a deal ;)

I don't need racial ability modifiers at all. Hand them out to the classes and make races affect NADs or skills or weapon proficiencies/boni.
I am not at all in support of racial ability score ceilings. It's still a penalty, just one that's presented in a different way so that it doesn't immediately look like one. Useless and unnecessary limitations like this are bad.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
     Stat ceilings in a 4e system are simply a way to ban that race from certain classes [and if you included later stat raises in this, you would completely ban that race-class combination. ]
      Now a penalty does much the same thing, but it is an easier to understand system & the idea that the races vary by only two in a stat is rather silly.



Only if your players are min/maxing.

Warder 



You realize that penalty systems in general favor the min/maxers that you seem so irked by?
(Not saying the two terms are mutually exclusive here, just simplifying for the sake of making a point)

Roleplayer: "Ha, gnome paladins are hilarious, I should make one- Oh, I'll only hit on a 19 if I do that, I guess I could do that but I don't think there's enough roleplaying in the world to account for the amount of fun I won't be having contributing nothing to fights."

Minmaxer: "Lets see gnomes get penalties to strength and wisdom, so I'll build a Dex/Cha Rogue and reap the benefits without the penalties ever mattering." 

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
     Stat ceilings in a 4e system are simply a way to ban that race from certain classes [and if you included later stat raises in this, you would completely ban that race-class combination. ]
      Now a penalty does much the same thing, but it is an easier to understand system & the idea that the races vary by only two in a stat is rather silly.



Only if your players are min/maxing.

Warder 


 not at all. The introduction of main-to-hit-stat which everyone tries to max out as well as possible has lead to this.


Actually, if (level 1) stat ceiling were, say, 16 for weak races, 18 for strong races, it's not obvious that a low ceiling is banning a certain class (assuming level-ups don't count towards the max; I prefer level-ups to be enhancement bonuses, but all that matters is that the limits are only at character creation time). As is in 4e, a stat of 20 (base 18, +2 for racial bonus) is a debatable value because it's so crippling for the rest of your stats (it's not a terrible choice, but 16+2 is also not a terrible choice). A ceiling of 14 does pretty well make builds based on that stat non-viable, but it's no worse than the situation in 4e, where not having a +2 in your major stat makes your race non-viable.
the situation in 4e, where not having a +2 in your major stat makes your race non-viable.

This is not true. In 4E, not having a +2 in your primary ability score makes you race non-optimal. That is not the same as non-viable.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
For a primary to hit stat, in a class with a secondary stat that grants riders, AND the 4E point buy (with 16/16, 16/14/14, and 18/12 being your best builds)

Starting with a 20 is maxed (18/12 +2)
Starting with a 18 is optimal (16/16, 16/14/14 +2, or 18/12)
Starting with a 16 is viable (14/14/16 +2, or 16/14/14, 16/16, or 18/12 -2)
Starting with a 14 is nonviable  14/14/16, or 16/14/14, 16/16 -2, or 12/18 +2
Starting with a 12 is just dumb.

With these standards, a race without a bonus can be optimal if they specialize, and viable even if they dont. A race with a penalty, however, has to specialize to be viable, with a more balanced build staying just above the stupid line.



If it's a choice between stat ceiling and stat penalty, I'll take the ceiling. A 16 stat is already reasonably expensive and an 18 is incredibly expensive, so not being able to get an 18 shouldn't be that awful a penalty.

What about stat bonuses, though? I don't like the way it's done now, making one combination of race/class better than another. A stat minimum makes no sense, though. Who wants a Con below 8 in the first place? 


Stat minimums could easily be 12, or 14, so that it actually does mean that that race has a significant tendency to be higher.

You could also raise the stat ceiling for such races to 20, but if they want to reach that they have to pay enough points to reach 20, which is going to be a lot. 

I am not at all in support of racial ability score ceilings. It's still a penalty, just one that's presented in a different way so that it doesn't immediately look like one. Useless and unnecessary limitations like this are bad.



A stat ceiling is in all ways a smaller penalty than "not having a +2" is.

Take it from an inveterate optimiser, the difference of +/-2 to your high stat after pointbuy is HUGE. The inability to hit 18 in pointbuy? *meh* it means every other aspect of my character is better, as I have tons of points to spread around.


It means I can't minmax a halfling to have massive strength, and all the rest of his stats really low. So, if I play a strong halfling, I have to play a more wellrounded character. To me, this is a lot less of a problem than: "If you want to play a strong halfling you CAN'T be wellrounded" as it works in 4e. 
As long as it is optional and I can easily disregard it altogether, I'm fine. I like my races with as little crunch as possible. I even generally use a houserule in my games that allows any character with a decent explanation of racial powers to play whatever race they want with whatever else stat block, meaning a tough, armored dragonborn shaman has the stats of a dwarf and looks like an armored dragonborn shaman. He can also breath fire, but never really practiced so if he does that in combat it counts as a standard action improvised attack (or a cool description alongside a shaman close blast power).
This has eased the life of my players a lot when building backgrounds, as they could just decide on a race they found cool in the setting without having to worry as much about the stat bonuses. It also led to having a free mentality when it comes to races, so we had a mermaid although there is no similar race in the books - the character just refluffed the eladrin and I granted him waterbreathing instead of trance.
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
I am not at all in support of racial ability score ceilings. It's still a penalty, just one that's presented in a different way so that it doesn't immediately look like one. Useless and unnecessary limitations like this are bad.



I think it still looks like a penalty. It just isn't quite as crippling a one. (I'm going to use 3.5 point buy, since DDI, I haven't needed to memorize the 4e point buy)
Assume 32 point buy, Halflings have +2 to DEX, STR capped at 16. Half-orcs are +2 to STR, CHA capped at 16.

For your halfling to get a 16 STR costs 10, and a 16 Dex costs 6, total 16. For a human to get these is 20 points. For 20 points the half-orc can get 18 STR and 16 DEX. He doesn't care about the floor on CHA. If he will settle for 16 STR, the cost is 16 points.


What if you want STR/CON rather than STR/DEX?
For the halfling to get 16 STR, 16 CON is 20 points. Same for the human. For the half-orc, he can get 18 STR and 16 CON for the same cost, or take a 16 STR for 16 points.

Assume 32 point buy. Halflings have +2 to DEX, -2 STR. Half-orcs are +2 to STR, -2 CHA
For your halfling to get a 16 STR costs 16, and a 16 Dex costs 6, total of 22. For a human to get these is 20 points.
For 22 points, the half-orc can get 18 STR, 16 DEX, and raise his CHA to 8. If he only wants a 16 STR, it is 18 points.

What if you want STR/CON rather than STR/DEX?
For the halfling to get 16 STR, 16 CON is 26 points. For the human it is 20. For the half-orc, he can spend the 20 and get 18 STR, 16 CON, and accept a 6 on CHA. If he only wants a 16 STR, the cost is 16 points.
problem ist that 4e's balance seems to assume that everyone starts with a 18 in their main stat. A 20 is possible but you have to give up pretty much in order to achieve that.
 
Now, if balance assumed a 16 in the main stat and puts a starting 18 as ceiling for EVERYONE at 1st level, then you'd have less problems with adding racial boni. You could then still have a very specialized halfling that could be as strong as a minotaur (which gets a +2 str) by specializing (=18 by pointbuy) and paying with his lack of strong secondary stats. However, his racial boni will improve these other stats a bit. And If you chose to be more well-rounded then you'd just start with a 16 and be perfectly balanced.
Opinions?

I think it still looks like a penalty. It just isn't quite as crippling a one. (I'm going to use 3.5 point buy, since DDI, I haven't needed to memorize the 4e point buy)
Assume 32 point buy, Halflings have +2 to DEX, STR capped at 16. Half-orcs are +2 to STR, CHA capped at 16.



Why even mix the systems? You could simply use different caps for each race.

Listing stats max levels
.......................Str......Dex...Con...Int...Wis..Cha
Halflings are:..16......20......18.....18....18...20
Half-orcs are:.20.......20......18.....16....18...18


Buying a stat of 19 would cost 4 more points, buying one of 20 5 more points, so getting a stat of 20 would cost 25 points altogether (assuming a 4e style system) 
Stop worrying about the damn numbers, and just fluffcrunch races with gimmicks like infravison and secret-door-sense.
There is no meaningful reason whatsoever to absolutely forbid a hafling with 22 STR, or a half-ogre with 1 STR.
problem ist that 4e's balance seems to assume that everyone starts with a 18 in their main stat. A 20 is possible but you have to give up pretty much in order to achieve that.
 
Now, if balance assumed a 16 in the main stat and puts a starting 18 as ceiling for EVERYONE at 1st level, then you'd have less problems with adding racial boni. You could then still have a very specialized halfling that could be as strong as a minotaur (which gets a +2 str) by specializing (=18 by pointbuy) and paying with his lack of strong secondary stats. However, his racial boni will improve these other stats a bit. And If you chose to be more well-rounded then you'd just start with a 16 and be perfectly balanced.
Opinions?



But it doesn't. It assumes you have a 16 in your main stat.
Stop worrying about the damn numbers, and just fluffcrunch races with gimmicks like infravison and secret-door-sense.
There is no meaningful reason whatsoever to absolutely forbid a hafling with 22 STR, or a half-ogre with 1 STR.


There's precisely as much reason to limit a Halfling's strength as there is not to give them infravision, or speed 7, or shifting through difficult terrain.


Why are things that effect ability modifiers so abhorrent to you? 

I think I would prefer stat ceilings to stat modifiers. However, if that is the case, and the game gives out regular bonuses to stats the way 4e and SWSE do, stat ceilings will have to grow with level. 




A few years ago I would of been against stat ceilings but now I rather like the idea.  Anyways I would set it based on tiers, not just level, give a maximum say of 22 at herioc, 20 something at paragon and 30 at epic.  (Although I would just drop the 10 to 20 thing and just use the bonuses)

Edit: Reading through I didn't catch that it was for racial differences, which I'm a little bit on the fence for, I guess it would depend on how it was implemented and what the differences are.  Personally I'm just looking at it to spread ability scores more, if you max out at 22 at level 10 you might throw some stuff in other ability scores.

Also I would like to see removal of ability scores from the hitting and just tie them to skills and such. 

A few years ago I would of been against stat ceilings but now I rather like the idea.  Anyways I would set it based on tiers, not just level, give a maximum say of 20 at herioc, 20 something at paragon and 30 at epic.  



I'd agree with this IFF the +1s you get at certain levels were replaced by extra pointbuy points.


Otherwise, I'd just have the max only apply at 1st level, and the +1s can go over it without any need to specify increasing maxes


On another note: I'd also like to see stat floors for at least some races, but I'm not as  bothered about those, as they are a more significant penalty, for less obvious flavour benefit, than the stat ceilings.
There's precisely as much reason to limit a Halfling's strength as there is not to give them infravision, or speed 7, or shifting through difficult terrain.

Having a specific move or some-odd *-vision is far less a "you must play [class] or [another class], because [race] is arbitrarily gimped to be terrible for [some other class]" straightjacket than attribute bonus/penalty/cap.
There's precisely as much reason to limit a Halfling's strength as there is not to give them infravision, or speed 7, or shifting through difficult terrain.

Having a specific move or some-odd *-vision is far less a "you must play [class] or [another class], because [race] is arbitrarily gimped to be terrible for [some other class]" straightjacket than attribute bonus/penalty/cap.


Ability caps of 16 at 1st level, with the way ability modifiers work in 3.x and 4e, really don't stop you playing any class.

It means that if you're playing a fighter, you can't min/max and put all your points in strength as a halfling, but that's not a straightjacket, and it's certainly not gimping you.

Remember, by only having a 16 in strength you have more points to put in dex, and charisma, meaning that you're still a good fighter, but you're also versatile.
A stat ceiling is in all ways a smaller penalty than "not having a +2" is.

You can say that, but what I'm reading is you admiting that:
A stat ceiling is... a... penalty...

Still a penalty, still not acceptable to me. You can call it a small one, and it's true that it's a lot more workable than a direct ability score penalty, but I'm simply not convinced that I should settle for that when 4E did races perfectly well without any ability score penalties or other limitations whatsoever.

4e's balance seems to assume that everyone starts with a 18 in their main stat.

I simply do not think that's true. I've seen plenty of perfectly viable characters with starting 16s. The 4E character optimization board has even admitting that 16 is perfectly viable; they just don't discuss it very often because it's rarely if ever optimal.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
A stat ceiling is in all ways a smaller penalty than "not having a +2" is.

You can say that, but what I'm reading is you admiting that:
A stat ceiling is... a... penalty...

Still a penalty, still not acceptable to me. You can call it a small one, and it's true that it's a lot more workable than a direct ability score penalty, but I'm simply not convinced that I should settle for that when 4E did races perfectly well without any ability score penalties or other limitations whatsoever.


Except that the comparison is with "+2 or not +2"; and going for something without a +2 is more penalised than going for something with a stat ceiling would be.

And 4e has those +2s. So it DIDN'T do perfectly fine without any limitations whatsoever. Halflings, in 4e, have a max Str of only 18, and getting that costs as much as a human getting a 20.

Whereas the proposed system would mean that halflings had a max Str of 16 perhaps, but getting that would cost only as much as a human getting a 16. 
I'm still not convinced at all, because the reasoning that you're using is basically contingent on that whole "not having a bonus is the same as having a penalty" nonsense that I see way too often. Plus, I can still do what you're saying in 4E, put a 16 in my Halfling's Strength and then distribute the rest of my ability score points elsewhere. All you've done is removed the option to get that 18 at a higher cost if I want to.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I'm still not convinced at all, because the reasoning that you're using is basically contingent on that whole "not having a bonus is the same as having a penalty" nonsense that I see way too often. Plus, I can still do what you're saying in 4E, put a 16 in my Halfling's Strength and then distribute the rest of my ability score points elsewhere. All you've done is removed the option to get that 18 at a higher cost if I want to.


And, simultaneously, removed the ability of the Human to get an 18 for the cost of your 16.

It's a tradeoff, but I personally think the ceiling technique is far less limiting to PC concepts than the +2 bonus technique.
If you disagree I'll just have to agree to disagree. It's as much a matter of preference as it is of math.
But first I want to make sure you understand where I'm coming from.

Think about it this way: If the halfling was limited to 18, humans to 20, and half-orcs to 22, that wouldn't be a penalty at all by your standards.

But the mechanical effects are identical to limiting the halfling to 16, the human to 18, and the half-orc to 20. It's just the flavouring that's different.
And, simultaneously, removed the ability of the Human to get an 18 for the cost of your 16.

I have yet to be convinced that removing that is desirable. Bonuses are fine. We want bonuses. Bonuses make races cool and make races matter. If anything, races don't get enough bonuses. The only problem with bonuses is if the system assumes and requires them, in which case they're not really a bonus. The "problem" of Humans getting an 18 for the cost of the Halfling's 16 is the same "problem" as Humans having a healing surge value of one quarter their maximum HP while Dragonborn get to add their CON modifier to that or the same "problem" of Humans taking full fire damage while Tieflings get resistance to fire.

If the halfling was limited to 18, humans to 20, and half-orcs to 22, that wouldn't be a penalty at all by your standards.

Says who? That all depends on how exactly it's done, how it's framed. The aspect of 4E where Halflings are effectively limited to 18 STR at level 1 while Humans are effectively limited to 20, that's not an issue because the system doesn't frame it that way. The way that you're framing it does make it more of an issue because it's imposing limitations rather than expanding options. If I'm left with the following two options:
A) Expand possibilities for one option but not for another.
B) Limit possibilities for one option but not for another.
Then I'm going to pick A every time, and no, A and B are not the same thing.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Let's compare results for a 'max' system instead of a '+2' system. To make up for the fewer basic stat points, we'll give people an extra 8 build points, and we'll set the costs for 19 and 20 to +5 and +6 (so 21 and 27 points for 19 and 20)

RAW, 18 str desired, 22 points.
Dwarf: Str 16+2=18(9), Con 14+2=16(5), Dex 13(3), Int 10(0), Wis 14(5), Cha 8 (0)
Elf: Str 18 (16), Con 12(2), Dex 12+2=14(2), Int 10, Wis 12+2=14(2), Cha 8(0)
Net advantage: Dwarf +4 Con, Elf +1 Dex. Pretty heavily favors the dwarf.

Stat Max Rules, 18 Str desired, 30 points.
Dwarf: Str 18(16), Con 15(7), Dex 12(2), Int 10(0), Wis 14(5), Cha 8 (0)
Elf: identical, if he wants, though thematically he might prefer more dex and less con.
Net advantage: even.

RAW, 20 Str desired, 22 points.
Dwarf: Str 18+2=20(16), Con 12+2=14(2), Dex 12(2), Int 10(0), Wis 12(2), Cha 8(0)
Elf: impossible.

Stat Max Rules, 20 Str desired, 30 points
Dwarf: Str 20 (27), Con 13(3), Dex 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8
Elf: still impossible.
Personally, I am a fan of not having any modifiers for stats regarding race.  If you want to show that their culture has taught them to utilize a skill or weapon or whatever a bit better than others, that's great.  But to say one race is smarter than another is a bit, well, racist.  Wink



True facts: People who are literally White Supremacists see racial penalties in D&D as a perfectly reasonable thing that matches their expectations of the world.  I'm going to put this quote in spoiler blocks because it's the views of an incredibly unpleasant individual (the language is work-safe, at least).

Show
From reading and posting on the Opposing Views section of the forum, I read a lot of foolish comments from the anti's. Statements like "I know a black person who is really smart, therefore everything you say about racial intelligence differences is wrong." Well, of course, the lack of understanding of statistics this statement shows is staggering. I try to recall when in my life when I could have fallen for such a foolish statement and I can't think of when I would have.

I completely understood how there could be smart blacks and yet blacks be less intelligent than whites as a whole when I was a child. When was the first time I thought about an idea like that? When I got into Dungeons and Dragons at the age of nine or ten. I knew that elves were more agile than humans. I knew that because they had a +1 bonus (back when I started playing, now its +2) to Dexterity, I knew they were more dexterous even though the average elf had a Dexterity of 11.5 and humans could have a Dexterity of 18.

These days, orcs have an average Intelligence of 8.5 (10.5 average for 3d6, -2) and since IQ roughly corresponds to D&D Intelligence times ten, then that puts your typical orc at an average IQ of about 85 . . . who does that remind you of? Of course, even as a child (long before I was racially aware) I would have known you were a fool if you said that orcs were as smart as humans just because you had an orc character with an Intelligence of 16. So when I was ten, I apparently knew more about statistics than your typical anti does.

And this point may seem a bit silly, but it introduces an important idea that most white people are conditioned not to believe in - racial essentialism. The idea that race determines certain characteristics or tendencies. We knew that elves we dexterous, that dwarves were tough, that orcs were mean and nasty. We also knew that there were exceptions and that exceptions didn't mean that general trends didn't still apply.

D&D also has a lot about racial loyalty. Elves band together in protection of their forests. Orcs raid human villages and have to be stopped by the hero. In D&D, you have loyalty to your people and you know that sometimes a race in general can be a threat to your's.

As I've grown older over the years I've continued to enjoy role playing games and my though the games I've played have advanced beyond just fighting orcs and finding magic items - but I think that some of those ideas I was exposed to as a child were good lessons that maybe helped me come to terms with ideas that are part of beings a White Nationalist.



So yeah, I am of the opinion that we cannot bury ability score penalties in any form (abillity caps included) fast enough.  Caps were terrible with the strength cap for women in 1e, and they're a bad idea today.  I don't even think restricted racial ability bonuses should be a thing if ability scores are so tightly bound to performance.  If a player does not think that halflings should be big and strong instead of quick and charismatic or hearty, then the player will not play halflings that way and everything continues as normal.  But if a player wants to play a halfling barbarian or something, then why not let the player play a halfling with a high strength and constitution?  The character may be a little odd compared to others, but oddities in D&D have a high chance of being adventurers so it's not really a problem.  Just let every race gain +2 to whatever with a side note on how members of that race might tend towards one thing or another, then differentiate based on

D&D has an uneven relationship with racial issues in the past, and a new edition offers a chance to break from it.
What's the point of having different races if they're all the same?


They aren't the same, there's plenty of non-stat ways for races to differ. The issue is that stat bonuses are too class-specific and too critical to play, meaning that certain race/class combos are effectively locked out as bad choices.
There's precisely as much reason to limit a Halfling's strength as there is not to give them infravision, or speed 7, or shifting through difficult terrain.

Having a specific move or some-odd *-vision is far less a "you must play [class] or [another class], because [race] is arbitrarily gimped to be terrible for [some other class]" straightjacket than attribute bonus/penalty/cap.


Ability caps of 16 at 1st level, with the way ability modifiers work in 3.x and 4e, really don't stop you playing any class.

It means that if you're playing a fighter, you can't min/max and put all your points in strength as a halfling, but that's not a straightjacket, and it's certainly not gimping you.

Remember, by only having a 16 in strength you have more points to put in dex, and charisma, meaning that you're still a good fighter, but you're also versatile.



I've never, ever, in either 3.x or 4.0 started with an 18 before racial modifiers for that very reason. I have started with a 17 though, in a 35 or 40 point game.

Isn't that part of the fun of playing a half-orc bard or a halfling fighter, that they are bad choices?


I find it to be more that they are ODD choices.

That doesn't mean they have to be particularly bad choices, at least not to the degree that "-2 to a prime stat" ensures. 
What's the point of having different races if they're all the same?


They aren't the same, there's plenty of non-stat ways for races to differ. The issue is that stat bonuses are too class-specific and too critical to play, meaning that certain race/class combos are effectively locked out as bad choices.



Isn't that part of the fun of playing a half-orc bard or a halfling fighter, that they are bad choices?




Only for maxi-miners. (You know the type, they purposefully build gimped characters because they have a lot of flavor, and then tell you all about how wonderful their character concept is. So why is party adventuring with Bob the Turnip farmer fighter with his pitchfork and overalls?)

There is fun in playing against type, and it may be worth having a BAB one worse to do it, but not a BAB one worse, REF and WIL one worse, fewer hit points, and not having a secondary stat of 13 to take some cool feats. At least not for me.

I was in a campaign with a halfling paladin and warlord, half-elf rogue, dwarf wizard, and human darklock. I almost ran a half-orc bard myself in another campaign.   
Not that I'm in support of ceilings regardless, but there's a question here. Would you be proposing a ceiling on halfling strength at 16, or a ceiling on level 1 halfling strength at 16. Because if ability scores bumps are part of 5E (and I hope they are), then ceilings are way worse than a -2 starting penalty.

A Str 16 level 1halfling fighter is viable.
A Str 16 lvl 20 halfling fighter is not.
Not that I'm in support of ceilings regardless, but there's a question here. Would you be proposing a ceiling on halfling strength at 16, or a ceiling on level 1 halfling strength at 16. Because if ability scores bumps are part of 5E (and I hope they are), then ceilings are way worse than a -2 starting penalty.

A Str 16 level 1halfling fighter is viable.
A Str 16 lvl 20 halfling fighter is not.


A ceiling at level 1.

I mean, races already have a ceiling of 20 at level 1, some have a ceiling of 18. Making a ceiling that lasted 'til higher levels, would be a massive change from the way the game has worked previously. 
People are getting worked up when one key point isn't even known/decided: what do stats MEAN in 5e? One issue I have with stat bonuses in 4e was that if a race got a stat bonus and skill bonus that used the same stat, it was effectively a +3 bump. In addition, other non-racially-connected skills indirectly got a +1 bonus if they happen to line up with the same stat. In too many cases that indirect skill bonus is not in keeping with that races design.

Consider the following:


  • What's the mechanical side-effect of a low stat race versus a high stat race? Until this is answered, I don't think there is much to discuss on this topic.

  • If combat prowess (i.e. attack roll) isn't directly linked to a stat, what's left to argue about on pros/cons of racial stat modifiers?



What if skills were used as the "offensive" part of the formula (e.g.: d20+skill rank), and stats became the defenses (for combat that is)? Can't races have other features that better define them than a flat bump to stats or skills?

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Not that I'm in support of ceilings regardless, but there's a question here. Would you be proposing a ceiling on halfling strength at 16, or a ceiling on level 1 halfling strength at 16. Because if ability scores bumps are part of 5E (and I hope they are), then ceilings are way worse than a -2 starting penalty.

A Str 16 level 1halfling fighter is viable.
A Str 16 lvl 20 halfling fighter is not.



Ceiling at level 1. And I would prefer not to have ceilings, and instead have just bonuses. (This still ensures that no halfling is as strong as the strongest human.) But I would prefer ceilings rather than penalties, and I thought this might be a comprimise with the people who love the idea of penalties.
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