Direction of the Racial Feats...

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Racial mechanics in D&D have really always been a bit wonky from the very first edition, so this is nothing new, and it is admittedly difficult to come up with abilities for near-human species that give them an edge. What exact effect does a human who lives underground, is a foot shorter than normal yet is bulky enough to weight 1.5x as much have on the mechanics of the character? What about living for over a hundred yets and yet still having the body of a fit 15-year old with pointy ears? What about being a race of humans universally afflicted with dwarfism?


I just really think that if some more time is put into it, that something better can be come up with than what we see in the playtest packets. Yes, these abilities have traction in previous editions, but that doesn't mean something new can't be put in its place.


Dwarf
Immune to Poison - Immunity is a pretty absolutist thing to put there. Immunity means that there is no limit to the amount of toxin that Dwarfs can withstand, that there is no way to deliver it that would affect them. With this ability, a dwarf can take a bath in Scorpion venom, they can walk right through a cloud of poison gas with no ill effects, they can drink giant viper venom as a delicacy, make it a typical ingredient in their food.
With this ability, when playing a dwarf I would really make use of poison as much as possible, coat all my weapons in it even if it isn't a feature of my class and I have no skill in doing so because even if I miss my roll and injure and are supposed to have "poisoned" myself, I am immune. So I'll just do it again and again until I succeed. As a DM, if I am building a dwarven stronghold or city that isn't meant to be open to outsides, I would go ahead and have them pump every room full of poisoned gas and put in moats of toxin water. There'd be no better defense against their enemies.

Slower Speed + No Armor Speed Reduction - You know, you can really go ahead and reduce these two rules to a single rule -- Dwarfs not wearing heavy armor get a penalty to their speed. Such a rule would have the identical game effect. I understand that the basic concept of Dwarfs is such that are always wearing heavy armor, but this really is a way to scare dwarfs away from playing a class other than Fighter and Cleric.
I can understand a designer giving a penalty to a race that only affects a couple classes, but only in a case where their attribute bonuses match the class so well that they would become the best racial option for that class, particularly when thematically they aren't meant to be particularly good at it. But in this case the rules are penalizing a Dwarf even further only in the case that they play classes where their attribute bonuses don't really give them any help.
This points to a return to a system where there is a "correct" race to play each class as.


Stonecutting - Okay, not so bad here. But really, what this points to is familiarity with terrain. One can assume that underground caverns are an unusual enough terrain from where most of the PC races live, but a place that is encountered often enough in games that it might be worth noting that they have certain advantages for figuring out their surroundings. But this really points more to a background trait than a racial one. I would expect that "Mountain" Gnomes and "Mountain" Orcs and "Mountain" Goblins and Drow would all demonstrate similar abilities. Furthermore, I would expect the "Forest/Wood" version of all these races to have similar advantages in the forest and that aquatic races would have similar advantages underwater.
But, somehow I suspect that we aren't going to see the concept of "familiarity with unusual and typically confusing terrain because it is your native homeland" to be copied over onto every racial entity it applied to. Because, if it was, then we would expect to see some tangible advantage to someone who came from an urban environment or open plans.


Halfling
Halflings are really are a weak concept to begin with. They really have never been anything more clearly defined than simply "short humans". Yes, there have been some attempts to try to really nail them down to something a bit more clear than that, but such attempts have never really stuck particularly well. In fact, it seems like every other small race has a better theme -- gnomes univerally learn illusion magic, goblins like ambush tactics and outnumbering enemies, kobolds like traps and have some reptillian advantages... at this point I'd have to question if it would not be best to simply drop the concept of Halfling and instead adopt a PC version of one of the others.
Because no one really can say what a Halfling really is beyond simply a short human, I'll have to let the whole "lucky" mechanic go. If that is what it takes to try to make them "special" or "unique" then I can't really argue with it-- it is simply too intangible of an advantage to really pin down how it could be wrong. But the other one...


Naturally Stealthy - This seems pointless. The reason is quite simple-- no matter how you look at it, this sort of ability should be universal. What exactly would make a Halfling better at hiding behind something larger than it than any other small race? In fact, what exactly would make a Halfling better at hiding behind something larger than it than any normal sized race?
Previous to having seen this I would have thought that a human rogue told me that he would like to hide behind the Ogre that, for whatever reason, isn't trying to squash him than I well would have assumed it was a perfectly valid thing to do. In fact, I probably would have let any generally human-sized character hide behind even a bugbear or dragonborn or warforged if they so wished to do so (with some more difficulty than using the Ogre or something larger, obviously).
But having it codified as a Halfling racial ability means that... well, apparently no one else is capable of hiding behind a creature larger than it? Because if they could... it wouldn't be written as a racial ability for the Halfling.


Honestly, both of the abilities of the Halfling tell me that the designers are really racking their brain and stretching to try to find something unique there. Maybe there isn't anything. Halflings are merely small-sized humans and so why not simply make them small-sized and then give them whatever mechanic has been assigned to the human? Maybe it just comes down to giving the race a free bonus skill or something. But, again, the trouble with the Halfling is... what exactly do they do better than a Gnome, Goblin or Kobold (other than get along with humans)?


Elf
Free Spirit - Assuming that charm and sleep are relatively similar to previous editions, what this ability really translates to is... immunity to low-level autokill spells. Perhaps the problem is merely that these spells are incredibly, incredibly powerful at low levels. Basically anything 1st or 2nd level is just automatically killed using these spells and the sleep spell allows you to auto-kill an entire field of enemies in a 20' radius. Elves are immune yet... somehow I just don't think Elves are going to be common enough first or second level opponents for that to matter. Second-of-all, only a sadistic DM is going to be using sleep or charm spells on the party at first or second level when chances are that they won't get get a save from it and having an elf in the party would be an absolute necessity (in fact, if the DM begins liberally using enemies with a sleep spell at their disposal, the entire playgroup might begin playing elves to survive).
Honestly, I am not even sure if this is broken or not, but fundamentally it is immunity to a low-level autokill spell that DMs should be discouraged from using as written anyway and probably won't come into effect much past 3rd level.


Keen Senses - It is a really powerful bonus when coupled with classes that are meant to be scouting I guess. It just strikes me as a bit odd that with all the really beastial, animalistic races in the D&D world who spend most of their lives as predators or prey and live in societies where not keeping a careful eye out at all times can mean a dagger in the back, it is elves-- the most civilized, altruistic, protected and peaceful ones that have the best senses. Simply having Low Light Vision has already gotten across the idea that they have sharp senses, this extra bonus seems surperfluous.


What really strikes me about how the elves have always been written up is that the most striking feature of the race is mechanically ignored. Hhow exactly does this race live for more than a century, do and learn NOTHING more than most races do in less than 20 years and then suddenly join an adventuring group and see their abilities massively increase in only a couple years?
Previous editions have always given Elves wacky mechanics-- they don't need to sleep, they have exclusive access to the best metal, the best horses, the best hawks, the best hunting hounds, they are friends of the fey, they know their way around underground, they have better hearing than the races with giant ears and better sight than hawks, they get free access to a few cantrips, they are immune to certain spells, there is a special subrace to specialize in every single attribute so they can match every class....
All of this has always been designed to try to convey that they are simply superior to humans (and every other race) in every single meaningful way. But, really, shouldn't the most fundamentally important aspect of the elf be... it has something between 2-5x the lifespan, 2-5x the memories, 2-5x the experience of every single other member of the party?
One can propose the elves as a perfect master race all one likes, to me that additional life experience in which to pick up various skills and knowledge would really be the advantage that should be highlighted.


With that in mind, instead of the Keen Senses, why not instead let an Elf choose 2 backgrounds to represent their sigificantly longer and perhaps more complex life history?

Love it!

This problem however isnt related to game design it is related to the view  of these races IRL as an experience of Tolkiens work.

The concept of the "classic fantasy" elf is derived from there. A sublime being "Perfecting what you did in mere seconds" and then exceding what you spent a lifetime doing.

Halfling is the same. A Tolkien being.

I agree of all of your points it however topples the the whole view of making these "races" playable.

I don't know if u want me to answer to your suggestion cause your rather long post suggests more.

But I can say this. I dislike the halfling concept sincerly in any fantasy environment and would much rather make a gnome of it. Since I feel Hobbits are misplaced.

The elf thing is a harder nut. Going for Tolkiens interpretation would make a Superhuman of every elf, then again as you say, making that a player charachter. I dont know... 40K universe with Eldar solved it with each Eldar going through a phase were they learned all and then forgot everything when they pursued another path.

You have a big apple to crack m8

A bit of creativity can explain away most of those concerns (from a non-mechanical standpoint) without too much trouble (though for the record, I personally agree with almost everything you said).

Elves, in their much longer lifespan, have not necessarily accomplished more than a much shorter lived human because although they are physically faster than humans, the concept of haste would be inherently alien to any race that doesn't have to worry about "running out of time". Why rush to get something done now, when there will ALWAYS be later. If it's not something that is fun and interesting to them or a present crisis, why would they have any impetus to accomplish it sooner rather than later? They'd likely end up a race of procrastinators and (ironically) free spirits.

Likewise, I've known a few of those people in real life. The men and women who are just unfairly talented at everything. That everything comes so much easier to than everybody else, that you just wanna slap them. At the end of the day, they often end up without truly mastering anything since everything is easy enough that they're never truly challenged to attain competence. Thus they get bored with things and end up with a huge number of hobbies. That'd be well represented with two backgrounds.

As far as the mechanical stuff goes however, I'm right with you. The poison immunity would lead me right along the same lines you mentioned, and I'd be cackling the whole time. Realistically though, any out and out immunity just offers the potential for abuse, and it makes it harder on the DM to have to watchdog it with unscrupulous players.

Unless they've changed it (which they may have. Honestly I'm losing track of new rules, old rules, perposed rules and abandoned rules), if you successfully put something to sleep, you can coup-de-grace that target regardless of relative level. I don't mind this one as much as the poison immunity, but it still takes a whole list of potential adversaries off the table. Keeps them from being challenging in the same sense anyway.
Regarding immunity.

I think the mechanics of dwarves are simply made as flavour. An aspect of showing the toughness of dwarves in a usable way in the game.
 If you start putting realism in the center you will end up starting a landslide with multiple incoherences in all areas.
 
The idea is simply putting the immunity as a sideeffect. If you build a realistic society around it all dwarves would walk around with poisoned weapons and be the master assassins (or at least poisonmasters) wanted by all others to hire. Not the typical archetype of a dwarf?

But to get on topic.

What would you suggest to make these races unique trademark? The goal afterall is to make a difference regarding the choice of race!? And adhering to some sort of classic view of the different races!? And not to forget, adhering to the "spirit" of a classic RPG.
The Dwarfs are indeed tricky. But I don't see why a blanket immunity to poison is necessary. The original intent might merely to be to make things simplier and assume that people will follow the old fluff. However, experience should tell one that it never works out that way-- once Dwarfs are given totally immunity to poison it will be abused and it will become a standard part of the race. Think about how rare it was to see good drow who didn't dual-wield scimitars once the iconic Drow did it. It became a fundamental trait of the race.

The armor is worse. I can understand that one might feel that decreasing the Dwarfs speed below a human in heavy armor might appear to be highly penalizing-- however, the fact remains that giving them a slow speed and coupling it with an ability to ignore the penalty in heavy armor just makes it so that the only dwarfs who have a speed penalty are those that don't have heavy armor. Make a Dwarfen Barbarbian, Rogue or Wizard THEN you have a speed penalty, make a Dwarfen Cleric, Fighter, or Paladin and you don't get one? It really doesn't make any sense and only serves to dissuade players further from matching the race with classes its attribute bonuses don't support.

Penalties that affect the race only when it  takes certain classes will inevitable be perceived as much larger deterents than bonuses that only affect them when they are certain classes. As such, it should be avoided except perhaps in cases where the character's other bonuses would make them exceptionally good at class X when the entire concept of class X is entirely against the concept of the race (for instance, Tiefling Paladins).

I would suggest one just drop it all together and let their speed be reduced a bit more in heavy armor-- or just give them the normal movement rate that everyone else gets because the majority of people playing Dwarfs will inevitably be wearing heavy armor anyway giving them that slower movement speed by default.

Now, if this is really all about their frame being able to support more weight-- then give them an increased carrying capacity. One could also give them them some sort of universal bonus to represent their toughness, whether it be extra hit points or a point or two of natural damage reduction or extra healing surges if they are kept in the game. Make it so that the ability stacks with the benefits of having a high AC derived from heavy armor, but is in effect a benefit if one plays a Dwarf from a class that doesn't use heavy armor rather than giving them normal movement speed when wearing heavy armor and a lower-than-normal speed when not wearing it.

Halflings... really, I would just like to see them either dropped or warped. Replace them with Gnomes or make them some sort of good-aligned goblin (so you could focus on their lakiness, sneakiness, improved hearing from giant ears, ability to see in the dark and utilization of animals) . Otherwise, if all they are is small humans then give them penalties and bonuses for being small that would apply to virtually all small races and monsters and then give them some universal ability to exceed in whatever their chosen field is like a human.

So long as they really aren't much different from simply a small human, they really ought to be treated as one and given the same sort of advantages as humans get. Making their abilities all either meaningless or mechanics that simply revolve around them being small (and thus, should logically apply to Gnomes, Goblins, Kobolds, etc. anyway) then one is just going to come up with something silly. Yes! Definately design races with what other races inhabit these worlds in mind rather than just humans and that single race at any given time. So long as they aren't the only child-sized race in the world, no good can come from revolving their race around entirely around the benefits of being child-sized.

And elfs... yeah, the "no hurry" thing just doesn't make any sense. They not only live 5x longer than humans, but they have also been given the often forgotten ability that they never sleep. In fact, if I were to write the elf from scratch and try to explain why they can live for generations and yet never develop, I would write that they sleep more. Perhaps they even tend to go into deep sleeps for years at a time at which time their spirits tend to leave their bodies, travel to another realm and when their spirits return, their bodies are sore from lack of use, their minds are numb and they remember only flashes of their spirit journeys and lives before like a half-remembered dream. They might remember the people they have met and adventures they had, but it then takes them years to rebuild their skills and strength. But this just isn't what D&D has gone with up until now, instead they have a race who sleeps half the time of humans, doesn't really even "sleep" then and has lived an entire human lifetime before their first adventure.

Rushed or not, with all that extra time one is going to be learning something in it. That is why an extra background feat makes more sense than enhanced senses when there is no good reason to posit that their senses would be any better than half a dozen other races in the game that won't be given that ability-- they have had time to develop extra skills even if they never really put any effort into it. Merely from playing or trying to waste this enormous amount of time they have, they are going to develop something from it-- useful or not.

There are also other abilities one could give the elf-- the ability to cast a few 0 level spells even if not a wizard (or other appropriate class), improved animal handling and training, a bonus to social rolls with fey, the ability to shoot further using bows, an benefit to tracking and hunting prey while in the forest.... so many different things one could do with them that would just seem so much more fitting and really support a concept and theme than being immune to sleep and charm and having inexplicable super senses.

For Dwarf, I agree about poison *immunity*. Id rather see advantage on saves plus resistance. Immunities make other classes obsolete. For example, I despise “immunity to mental effect” because it makes entire character concepts - Illusionists, Enchanters, Terrifiers, Telepaths, and so on, completely unusable in the game. Similar problem with undead being “immune to sneak attack”. It is just poor game design.

However, I feel certain races *should* favor specific classes. Unlike Humans, these Nonhuman races arent as versatile as Humans. Versatility is a Human trait. When certain races flourish in the racial culture because of synergy and evolution, it helps further distinguish one race from another.

Its interesting to play against type ... but it can only be interesting if there is a type to play. A type that natural affinity for certain classes creates.
 
I dont see the point of all races being identical to the Human race, except for a “prosthetic forehead”.

I like how different favorable classes enrich and distinguish each race.
Well, consider the differences...

The Elf now has
Advantage on Perception rolls
Immunity to Sleep and Charm
Low Light Vision 

I would prefer to see them given:
Free Bonus Background trait - They lived a long time and have earned some extra skills
Low Light Vision - They can see in the dark
Universal bonus to animal handling - They have fey blood which helps them tame and command animals
Proficiency with using bow or a +1 attack or a longer bow range if your class provides this proficiency.

You also get a choice between
High Elf) Choose 3 Wizard cantrips, you may cast them at will as though you were a wizard
Wood Elf) Ability (or bonus) to tracking individuals while in the forest.
 Dark Elf) Stonecutting ability like the Dwarf

 It is a bit more than they are getting, so maybe sparse some of it. But it gives the player access to some active abilities that really do feel unique to the race.


Dwarfs...
Instead of:
Slow movement speed & no reduction when using heavy armor
Stonecutting
 Immunity to Poison
Low Light Vision

Instead it would get
Bonus to saving throws vs. Poison & Disease
Low Light Vision 
Standard encumbrance limit is increased by 25%
Damage reduction of 2 points, but cannot reduce damage of attacks lower than 1 point. (This would allow for damage reduction without granting invincibility to low-damage attacks)

Your choice of 
A) Stonecutting (for those who are from the underground)
B) A bonus to appraisal and smithing (for those from the city) 
C) Favored enemy - Choose a race, you gain a +1 on attack rolls against them.

Halflings
I'd keep the Naturally Lucky, there is no reason not to
Small Size rules - restrict their weapons, but give them slight higher AC. (will work for all small races)
Naturally Stealthy - Let it give the race an advantage on stealth rolls, this ability might appear on other races.

and.... .... yeah, I really don't know. Thing is that Halflings just aren't really "the best" at anything which is why it seems like they should get some bonus to boosting their class abilitiess much as I would think a human does, but clearly not to the same degree. 

The current playtest arrangement seems problematic. The racial features need to depend on the subrace. The Drow Elf is very different from the other Elf subraces, for example. And the Shiere Eladrin is very different from the Noviere or the Coure. And so.

Also I am distinguishing between race and culture. A player can have a Drow hero who grows up among Eladrin, and gains the traits of the High Elf culture instead of the Drow culture. The biography explains how this happens in more detail. Maybe his parents joined a High Elf community with an academic goal of reunifying the Elf subraces. Or maybe, his parents are spies, who use magic to disguise their Drow Elf identity, so he grew up as a High Elf, got discovered, and is now a fugitive with mixed feelings. Or so on.

The following are for thematics, not necessarily balanced with eachother yet.



High Elf: +Cha +Int −Str
• Bonus to attack and save with Enchantment: Since Charisma relates to willpower, identity, and influence. The High Elf should get bonus to Enchantment, such as Charm, both when attacking with enchantments (including Intimidation checks) and when saving against them.
• Radiate Light: Since the High Elf draws from the archetype of “Light Elves” of folklore, and the faerie lords (Tulani Eladrin) of D&D, the High Elf should probably be able to radiate bright light, upto close range (10-yard radius), instead of shadowvision.

High Elf Culture 
• Education: Since High Elves exhibit Int, and tend to be scholarly in a wizardly and oratory way, and have long lives, it makes sense for the High Elf to get an extra background.
• Cantrip: Since High Elf is a magical fey being that naturally synergizes with Wizardly culture, it should probably get “proficiency” with an atwill Wizard cantrip. Note, even a player who plays a High Elf against type as a Fighter can still benefit well from an atwill cantrip. The game just needs to make sure the cantrip balances well with the use of other weapons, which the game needs to do anyway.
• Implement: The High Elf can also get a “proficiency” with a spellcasting implenent. Implements include: spellbook, regent (material component), voice (verbal componest), gesture (somatic compenent), wand (includes wand), staff, crystal (orb, gem, reflective pool, etc.), holy symbol, meditation symbol, and so on. The Wizard doesnt need to use any of these things but gets a “proficiency bonus” if learning how to use it for spellcasting. Even the antitype Fighter can use an implement with the cantrip.

(Sleep which is about the only spell of its kind in existence shouldnt have its own mechanical keyword, but instead just make Sleep a form of Charm.)



Wood Elf: +Wis +Dex −Con
• Since Wisdom relates to Perception, actually equals Perception, and since the Wood Elf is more in tune with nature spirits thus indirectly with natural instincts and animal senses, the Wood Elf should get a bonus to Perception. A perception bonus is plenty powerful.
• As nature spirits are often nocturnal, the Wood Elf should get the shadowvision.
 
Wood Elf Culture
• As hunters of the forest, who make their weapons out of wood (with stone arrowheads!), the Wood Elf should get the proficiency with the longbow - and also the spear - and possibly a bonus.
• The Wood Elf treats the forest as a favorable terrain bonus (stacks with any Ranger bonus)
• Likewise the Wood Elf can track (similar to ranger)



Drow Elf: +Cha +Dex −Con
• Since Drow live deep underground, this Elf subrace should get darkvision, including its being blinded by bright light.

Drow Elf Culture
• Arming Sword and Handbow: Since Drow are famous for their handbow - and it synergizes with their Dex - they should get its proficiency. Also proficiency with any finesse blade. This includes the misnomer shortsword. Since the rapier is a modern weapon, not a medieval one, Id rather it move to the fringes of the D&D game. Instead, I hope to see a proper “arming sword”, a normal sword in use with the sword-and-shield fighting style.
• Spell: Darkness (as Wizard, but ensure balance, combat benefits may require feats)



Sword (Arming Sword): 1d8 slashing/piercing, one-hand finesse. (This isnt an off-hand weapon.)

For terminology, “light” weapons should propaply mean “finesse” weapons that can benefit from Dex. “Handedness” (off-hand, one-hand, hand-and-half, and two-hand) is its own category. “Off-hand” weapons are just that, can be used in the off-hand for two-weapon fighting, and importantly can be used while grappling, unlike most other weapons.
I don't know that it would be good for all the elf subtypes to have absolutely no traits in common at all or for them all to be so focused on their own weapon types. Every single member of the society being trained with martial melee weapons sounds very much like an aggressive, war-like race. The kind that would round up other races and put them into slave camps or something.

I suggested the bow because the bow is as useful for hunting and potentially message transmission-- furthermore, most classes have profiency in it anyway. Spears and swords, not so much (plus, an off-hand dexterity based long sword is a bit much. It might be okay if it did only 1d6 base damage.)


I don't know that it would be good for all the elf subtypes to have absolutely no traits in common at all or for them all to be so focused on their own weapon types.

Dont forget, the arrangement allows a High Elf to grow up in a Wood Elf culture, and so on. So there can be intermingling.

It is more important for each archetype to make sense, than for the subraces to have nonsensical things in common. 4e made them entirely separate races, and for most subraces that approach makes more sense. Drow are very different from other Elf subraces. Duergar are very different from Hill Dwarf, the Warforged Golem is very different from other Golems, the Dragonborn is very different from other Dragons, probably including the Kobold who is different from other Dragons. The Pixie is completely different from the Nixie, even tho both are Sprites. And so on. Each subrace needs whatever traits it needs.



Every single member of the society being trained with martial melee weapons sounds very much like an aggressive, war-like race. The kind that would round up other races and put them into slave camps or something.

Heh. Most Americans are proficient with the gun, handgun or rifle. It isnt so bad.



I suggested the bow because the bow is as useful for hunting and potentially message transmission

I think bow makes a lot of sense for the Wood Elf race, but the Drow Elf not so much. In reallife folklore, when medieval people found prehistoric stone arrowheads and stone spearheads, from flint and quartz and so on, they perceived these as coming from Elf weapons. I want to see Wood Elf with bow and spear - both are excellent forest hunting weapons. Elves can use steel weapon heads, of course, but its cooler if they use stone weapon heads, that they then magic, with a blessing of some kind.


 
furthermore, most classes have profiency in it anyway.

If something is truly useless, I would rather it be removed to avoid cluttering up the racial mechanics with garbage. But actually, bow proficiency can be hard to come by. The Wood Elf makes a great Druid, and Druids dont get bow. Racial proficiencies should probably add some kind of trick (maybe requiring a skill check), so its still useful if the hero gets proficiency from another source.

The trick for the Wood Elf spear is possibly to wield it using Dex, as a finesse weapon. Alternatively, the Wood Elf can wield the spear magically, by means of primal druidry, using Wisdom.



Spears and swords, not so much (plus, an off-hand dexterity based long sword is a bit much. It might be okay if it did only 1d6 base damage.)

A longsword is a HUGE weapon. It is “versatile” with a hand-and-half grip. The advantage of a longsword is the ability to use it two-handed to deal 1d10 damage. By contrast the advantage of an arming sword is (like a 1d8 finesse rapier), it is an agile “finesse” weapon that benefits from Dexterity.

Because the Drow Elf is known for Dexterity, the race will naturally adapt to using Dex weapons, including the arming sword. But it seems fine if the Drow Elf can do two-weapon fighting using an off-hand dagger. So any finesse blade seems appropriate. Also the handbow for poison.
Heh. Most Americans are proficient with the gun, handgun or rifle. It isnt so bad.



Two views on that: First - if "Most Americans" are proficient with the gun, handgun, or rifle... then why are the majority of people that I have known in my whole life (growing up in a rural town with a large hunting population, by the way) in the category of having never held a firearm in their life?

Second - considering all it takes to use a firearm (in the majority of definitions of firearm) is to point and pull the trigger, the exact things needed to use a crossbow, a firearm would be a simple weapon and thus not subject to the comment about being trained with a martial weapon leading to the appearance of a war-like race.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla
Firearms are relatively simple to use...point and click. Care and upkeep, as well as safety, are the more complicated areas. This would be why, in the military, and Armorer is a dfferent MOS (job) than Infantry, and why the former requires a bit more intelligence than the other.
Every single member of the society being trained with martial melee weapons sounds very much like an aggressive, war-like race. The kind that would round up other races and put them into slave camps or something.

Heh. Most Americans are proficient with the gun, handgun or rifle. It isnt so bad.




Okay, first of all, proficiency doesn't simply mean being relatively capable of figuring out how the thing works. I mean, anyone can figure out how to use a broad sword without too much training-- you simply swing it at something. Proficiency means being able to use it as well as a standard soldier who has been trained to use it in warfare.

Most Americans may be able to pick up a gun, know to turn off the safety, point it and shoot it-- but not with any significant accuracy.

Furthermore.... really? Your example of the nonwarlike culture is the only one to engage in countless foreign conflicts for the past 60 years despite never once being at danger of an invasion, the one that puts big bases in even friendly foreign countries, spends more on its military than every other nation in the world combined, is deeply embroiled in two wars and itching for a third, imprisons and executes a higher percentage of both its own people and foreign nationals than any other country on earth, and where the majority of the average citizens considers criticizing a soldier for anything, regardless of the extent of their actions, as paramount to treason (unless that soldier's crime is to go against war itself)? I don't really care to debate the morality of these attributes-- some will say they are evil, some will say they are holy, some will say that not all citizens are on board with this and others will say that it is as it is for the good of the world, out of necessity and still others will say every other nation is weak and pathetic for not being the same-- and nothing will be resolved because it is all conjecture and opinion. Just note that none of that is exaggeration and by the cold, hard numbers America is an aggressive, warrior culture.

It just isn't the culture you want to point to as your example of a non-war-like nation that could have anti-personel weapon proficiency. A better example might be Switzerland where the military is more for ceremony than anything else and hasn't actually been used since World War I, they are renowned as a peaceful and scientifically progressive country that heavily favors both diplomacy and neutrality, yet all the youth in the country serve in the armed forces for a couple of years.

But, if elves had to serve compulsory military service before they become old enough to be adventurers, I think that would be worth noting in their racial description.

But, if elves had to serve compulsory military service before they become old enough to be adventurers, I think that would be worth noting in their racial description.

All hunter-gatherer cultures can handle hunting weapons.


Moreover reallife medieval farmers were required by laws to know how to wield weapons, including bow, sword, knife, spear, mace, axe.

That said, I feel that many backgrounds should grant appropriate weapon proficiencies, among the list of skills to choose from.
Furthermore.... really? Your example of the nonwarlike culture is the only one to engage in countless foreign conflicts for the past 60 years despite never once being at danger of an invasion, the one that puts big bases in even friendly foreign countries, spends more on its military than every other nation in the world combined, is deeply embroiled in two wars and itching for a third, imprisons and executes a higher percentage of both its own people and foreign nationals than any other country on earth, and where the majority of the average citizens considers criticizing a soldier for anything, regardless of the extent of their actions, as paramount to treason (unless that soldier's crime is to go against war itself)? I don't really care to debate the morality of these attributes-- some will say they are evil, some will say they are holy, some will say that not all citizens are on board with this and others will say that it is as it is for the good of the world, out of necessity and still others will say every other nation is weak and pathetic for not being the same-- and nothing will be resolved because it is all conjecture and opinion. Just note that none of that is exaggeration and by the cold, hard numbers America is an aggressive, warrior culture.

It just isn't the culture you want to point to as your example of a non-war-like nation that could have anti-personel weapon proficiency. A better example might be Switzerland where the military is more for ceremony than anything else and hasn't actually been used since World War I, they are renowned as a peaceful and scientifically progressive country that heavily favors both diplomacy and neutrality, yet all the youth in the country serve in the armed forces for a couple of years.



I think you've effectively shown what human ambition can do...on both sides of the spectrum.