Race mods, OP or underwhelming? (3.5)

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Hello there, I'm new here - to the forum as well as to DnD. Well, that last bit isn't completely true. I have played a few sessions as a player. This project, due to which I find myself posting here, will be my first time as a DM however. (I have quite a bit of experience ST'ing (new)World of Darkness games though.) We, the group, have 3(.5) books available. So, that's why this isn't about 4th edition. You'll understand, right?

So, currently I will not have the time to actually DM a game (due to various circumstances). But I see this simply as an opportunity to, over a long period of time, work on my setting. Now, I like the "classic fantasy" that is DnD, but there are some things that I would want to mix-up a bit. First off, races:

(One line of background: the campaign will be set within an human-dwarven empire.)

You will notice no innate magic capacities, this is because I want magic to be not absent, but rare.


By-and-large Dwarves remain the underground city builders, obsessing over stones other sturdy matertials to built their worlds with. However, they truly are more architect now, than they are merchants digging the earth to uncover precious stones. They have a nack for building a sturdy social-political field around them, as much as they have a nack for building stone and metal artifices that will last for eons.

Racial traits:

  • Ability modifier - unmodified

  • Size - unmodified

  • Speed - unmodified

  • Darkvision - unmodified

  • Stone cunning - unmodified

  • Weapon proficiency: Dwarves reveive the Weapon proficiency feat for the battleaxe, dwarven waraxe, dwarven ungrosh greataxe, and warhammer, as bonus feats. Hammers and axes are part of Dwarven tradtion, so all Dwarves know how to handle such weapons.

  • Stability - unmodified

  • racial bonus on saving throws against poisons - unmodified

  • +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Sense Motive checks

  • racial bonus on Craft checks that are related to stone or metal - unmodified

  • Automatic languages: unmodified

  • Favoured class: Cleric

Removed: racial bonus vs. spells and spell-like effects, vs orcs and goblinoids, dodge bonus vs. giants etc., bonus on Appraise checks


Elves are still the nimble and gracefull creatures, inhabiting (as a general rule) mysterious forests and what not. The difference is that they are noctural predators. Perfectly adapted, carnivorous creatures who may hunt in packs to bring down big game. (I was thinking of giving elves a bonus to fighting orcs - wouldn't it be fun if they ate those greenskins?) Though not necessarily evil, they are very much feared.

Racial traits:


  • Ability mod - unmodified

  • Size - unmodified

  • Base land speed 40 feet

  • Low light vision - unmodified

  • Weapon proficiency: Elves receive the Weapon Proficiency feat for the guisarme, glaive, halbert, longbow (including composite longbow), ranseur, shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. Elves esteem the grace of polearm fighting and the art of archery, so all elves are familiar with these weapons.

  • +2 racial bonus on Climb, Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot checks.

  • Automatic languages - unmodified

  • Favoured class: Rogue. Elves are a race of nocturnal predators, ranger/rogues are quite common amongst their ranks.

Removed: Immunity to sleep magic


Generally less feared by society than their elven parent.

Racial traits:


  • +1 Dex, -1 Con

  • Size - unmodified

  • Speed - unmodified

  • Low-light vision - unmodified

  • Elf blood - unmodified

  • +1 racial bonus on Climb, hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot checks.

  • Half elf characaters start with three extra skill points at first level.

  • Automatic Languages - unmodified

  • Favoured class: Any

Removed: Immunity to sleep magic, bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information


Orcs are stubborn, blunt, and violently territorial herbivors, comparable to, perhaps, the water buffalo of the Great Southern Gasslands. Throughout history their mighty bodies have been enslaved and throughout history their captors have regretted the decision.

Half-orcs have been bred specifically to create a slightly more docile labour force. They also make up the majority of the empire's professional soldiers.

Racials traits:


  • Ability mod. - unmodified

  • Size - unmodified

  • Land speed 40 feet

  • Low-light vision - unmodified

  • Orc blood - unmodified

  • Weapon proficiency: Half-orcs receive the Weapon profociency feat for the orc double axe.

  • +4 racial bonus on Intimidate checks.

  • Bonus feats: Great fortitude, Iron will.

  • Automatic languages - unmodified

  • Favoured class: fighter


Huarves are the infertile offspring of a male human and a female dwarf. They are not an uncommon sight and are regarded as a sign of the empire's health and prosperity.

Racial traits:


  • +1 Con, -1 Dex

  • Medium size

  • Base speed 30, but can move at this speed even when wearing heavy armour.

  • Low-light vision

  • Dwarf blood

  • Stone cunning: as regular Dwarves, but with +1 instead of a +2

  • +1 racial bonus on saving throws against poisons.

  • +1 racial bonus on Bluff and Sense Motive checks

  • +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy and Gather Information checks

  • Automatic languages: common and Dwarven

  • Favoured class: any

Now I am not sure of using halflings and gnomes. If I do, I'll sort of collapse the two races into one. Resulting in something like this:


  • +2 Intelligence and Charisma, -2 Strength

  • Small: +1 size bonus to Armour Class, +1 size bonus on attack rolls, +4 size bonus on Hide checks. Lifting and carrying limit is ¾ of those of a medium sized character

  • Base land speed 20 feet.

  • +2 racial bonus on saving throws against Illusions.

  • +1 racial bonus on attacks made with thrown weapons and sling.

  • +2 racial bonus on Craft (Alchemy), Gather Information, and Perform checks

  • Automatic languages: common and Gnomeler

  • Favoured class: bard

Any kind of comment and/or criticism is welcome!

First, NEVER use odd-number ability modifiers, they're easier to break than +2/-2.

Second, none of this makes anyone want to not be a human anyway, so it's kinduva waste for me to comment beyond that. Yell
As you may have read, my experience with DnD isn't that extensive. I would appreciate it if you could expand on the everyone will want to be human bit. Are humans considered to be the best of the bunch in 3.5?
Very much so.  No penalties to ability scores, extra skill points, and given the scarcity of feats in 3.5, there's nothing offered by any LA+0 race that's worth losing that bonus feat.

If you want nonhumans to compete, take away all LA, but be prepared to see humans replaced by dragonborn goliaths and half-giants... and the occasional human. 
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