Ideas for Human racial bonuses

Dwarves get 5 bonuses +1 to a stat (Low Light, Resilience, Weapon Training, Stonecunning, Toughness/Armor Mastery)
Elves get 6 bonuses +1 to a stat (Low Light, Weapon Training, Keen Senses, Free Spirit, Trance, Cantrip/Wood Elf Grace)
Halflings get 4 bonuses +1 to a stat (Weapon Training, Lucky, Nimbleness, Naturally Stealth/Fearless)
Humans get +2 to one stat and +1 to everything else.  That's just bad design and lazy.

Working with of my players (who incidentally isn't playing a human but is thinking about it) we've worked up the following.


Humans
+1 to any one Stat (since classes give a bonus now as well, this should be plenty)
Pick one additional skill to be trained in.
Pick one additional 1st level feat.
Pick two weapons as "Cultural Weapons" and increase the damage dealt with them by 1 step.

This puts them at the bottom of the list (3 bonuses and +1 to a stat) BUT balances that out with versatility, which has long been the humans strong suit.  I also like that it easily allows for the creation of human cultures by simply making those choices for the player.

Example - Nomadic desert warriors - +1 to Con, Trained in Survival and Improved Initative and with the Scimitar and Javelin.


while I like the ability bonus humans current enjoy your presentation is fair as well. in a module a list of racial feats could be presented the may only be selected at character creation perhaps.

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The reason they aren't going to do something like that is that it is more complex than what they are going for. It is highly unlikely that humans will ever have more than one choice based on race.

If humans get a racial feature, it will most likely be a single racial feature that is equally valuable to all classes.

The biggest problem with the human racial bonuses is that it spits in the face of traditional lore about the relative ability scores of the races. It's downright offensive, and there aren't a lot of things that actually offend me in Next.

My suggestion is to provide non-humans with two +1s: one based on their race and one based on their subrace. Humans get two +1s assigned where they will, and a really nice racial feature.

It's important in order to preserve traditional lore that says dwarves have the most Con, elves the most Dex, etc. I'm thinking that an action point type of ability might be good for humans. The only problem with that is out-of-combat usefulness.
I think the cultural weapon bonus is too much. It pretty much makes humans automatically the best race for any class. Bonus feat and bonus skill is good enough to balance racial weapon training. And I don't believe they should necessarily have subraces. They're supposed to be a neutral race that can be good at any class but is never the best at it. At least, that's why I like playing them.
I applaud the Next crew for trying to fix humans after several blown endeavors; and while I don't think they've nailed it yet, I definitely think they are on the right track.

Obviously level caps for dwaves and elves aren't going to make a comeback; However, I never saw the logic behind humans getting extra skills and feats at level one. The fluff of the matter implies that somehow a 15 year old farm boy has aquired more skills and has learned more tricks than a 120 year old high elf. 

I am currently in favor of the ability bonuses as racial traits because Humans are better all-around racial specimens then the demi-humans. I am likely to alter my opinion with the proposal of a racial trait that doesn't imply superior skill and experience over the longer lived races.
I could handle a change in the human racials, but going back to the default skill and feat is boring, boring, boring :P
My two copper.
I could handle a change in the human racials, but going back to the default skill and feat is boring, boring, boring :P

It's a start at least. Well, anything is better than they have now...
There shoudln't be physical racial traits bonus for human as an average. If compared to the average dwarf, the average human is not tougher or even as tough as a dwarf, the same goes for str and dexterity. The versatility, ability to learn ot whatever you want to call what makes human different is not something physical so I think that human shouldn't gain in these stats. They shouldn't gain even in wisdom as for me wisdom comes with time and I have a problem with a human being wiser at 15yo than a 70yo dwarf or a 120yo elf. What could be done is improve their learning rate. A dwarf or an elf could improve a skill every 3 levels and a human every 2 levels. Or even skill learning cost could be a bit cheaper for humans. Would it make them overpowered or underpowered ? I do not know, maybe Cyber Dave and other math specialists can tell us.
A dwarf or an elf could improve a skill every 3 levels and a human every 2 levels.

It works, i guess.
The obvious downsides are it makes skills essentially mandatory, and there may be a problem with runaway at high levels.

I could handle a change in the human racials, but going back to the default skill and feat is boring, boring, boring :P



I feel it's significantly better than a bunch of stat bonuses, though still not ideal.

With a modular design, there's no reason we can't have "basic" racial stats and "advanced" racial stats.  Maybe save "sub-races" or "cultures" for an advanced racial module.

So, for example you could have the "Elf" in the basic book but the racial/cultural module could include bonuses for Wild, Wood, Gray, High, Drow, Eladrin, Snow Elves, Painted Elves, Rockseer Elves and any other subset of elf that's seen print.








A couple people seem to take issue with humans having more skills or being wiser than other races who are longer lived. However, that actually makes some degree of sense. A fifteen year old farm boy might have more tricks than a 120 year old elf, because biologically and culturally they are at about the same place. It is commonly assumed in fantasy where the races are seen as about equal (ie not Tolkien's super elves) that the other races start out learning slower than humans, because humans have a more urgent timeline. A ten year old human is 1/10 of the way through his entire life, and has already had society pressuring him to learn. A ten year olf elf is only 1/100 of the way through his life and probably still just plays all day and doesn't learn anything too important, because there is no hurry.

As for what to give humans... I don't know, skills and feats seem popular to some, but I agree with them also being a bit boring and lazy. I kind of liked the idea about giving them an action point system though
My latest recommendation:

Non-humans get a +1 to two stats--one from race and a second from subrace.

Humans get a +1 to two stats of their choice. Humans also get a +1 bonus on all ability checks and an action point 1/day.

This allows humans to have that "driven to be good at everything" feel the designers are going for, nicely meshes with the 3e skill bonuses, works just as well with or without backgrounds, and provides a non-combat benefit. The action point provides a highly flexible direct combat benefit. The simplicity is important to stay in line with the current design philosophy (ie, to have a chance of WotC taking it seriously as a possibility).

Non-humans maintain their racially emphasized abilities. With no one getting a +2, and classes providing the additional bonus, each race could potentially be a fair member of each class, though obviously some non-human combinations are more optimal than others. (As they should be.) Humans should be equally useful in any class with this setup.

How is the balance on that? Who thinks it keeps humans as an overal great and appealing option without making other races seem weak or superflous? Is it too powerful or too weak compared to other races.


Non-humans get a +1 to two stats--one from race and a second from subrace.

Humans get a +1 to two stats of their choice. Humans also get a +1 bonus on all ability checks and an action point 1/day.

Simplify it more.

Human: +1 any, +1 any
Other: +1 fixed, +1 any

The human definitely feels off to me.  Thus far, no one in my group has been willing to make one; they all agree the race is too simplified and lags well behind the other races. I think even a bonus skill and language of choice would go a long way to incentivizing folks to play the race.

I love D&D more than I could ever love a human child.

I thought they weren't giving the humans a feat and a skill because those were modular components of the system anyway, or did they abandon that? I really don't like +2 to one and +1 to all. I'd be up for something like an increased point buy without an increased cap, so they can have broader abilities.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Given feats are so limited, and stacked in a system so nicely, I'm not up for that one.

However, I like some ideas presented here.
+1 to any two sounds great!
+1 to skill checks, or pick 1-2 extra skills, or  

I really don't think humans with the highest max stat shows their versatility in any way.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Personaly I just made all the non humans +2 to the stat and dropped the +2 from the human profile and gave them a free feat.

They feel right now and it wasn't so much a balance issue to me with stat caps as it was a feel issue.
Yeah, +2 to 1 stat is terrible. It should be +1 to a stat of your choice. Then the human is "as nimble as a halfling" or "as tough as a dwarf". I could go with a +2 bonus to the stat for all the races though, that would make a more significant difference, as that's an automatic +1 modifier, and it'd take until level 8 to catch up with the +1 bonus every 4 levels. 
The main issue my player and I have with the human racial bonuses is that they add no flavour.  D&D has always had fairly stereotypical races and there is a sort of culture there.  Dwarves live underground, are tough and swing axes.  Elves are nimble, good with magic and excellent archers, and so forth.  It's not much of a culture really, but it is there.  A few bonuses to stats?  It adds nothing to the game, IMO and is just lazy.

I think, for our game, I'm going to do up some "typical" cultures for humans using the idea of Cultural Weapons and skills etc.  With the new system it could be something as simple as a bump to the Skill Die (or advantage on the skill die...there's no reason Advantage only has to apply to the d20 roll).

So we can have seafarers and desert raiders and jungle dwellers etc.  Typical fantasy stuff really.
For me it's not so much a balance issue, nor an issue of boring. I hate to use such a strong term about a game, but I actually find it insulting to the lore of D&D to make humans as good as or better than non-humans in all of the areas that non-humans have traditionally been better at.
For me it's not so much a balance issue, nor an issue of boring. I hate to use such a strong term about a game, but I actually find it insulting to the lore of D&D to make humans as good as or better than non-humans in all of the areas that non-humans have traditionally been better at.



Our human PC has a bonus in every one of his stats because of the current racial modifiers.  Everything is at least 12 or better.  That's huge given the DCs of most things.
One idea I was toying with was this:

1) Give all races a +1 bonus to a stat of their choice.  Thus you could have a "smart dwarf" or a "strong elf" if that's the character concept you were shooting for.

2) Take all the existing racial stat bonuses (eg. +1 wis for dwarfs, etc.) and convert them to stat *minimums*.  That is, for example, a high elf would have a minimum Intelligence score of 10.  Point buys would work the same as before, and stats would have the same maximum starting score as before, so our elf would be just as intelligent of a neophyte wizard as would a neophyte dwarven wizard (if both decided to max out their int stat), but the elf warrior would be smarter than the dwarven warrior due to his race's innate mental aptitude.

There could be ways to play with this when it comes to humans vs. other races.  Humans could pick the stat that gets a minimum score, or races that have a specific stat could get a slightly higher minimum (say, 11), while the human gets a lower minimum (say 10) in all stats.

What it all boils down to is capturing the "fluffiness" of racial characteristics without giving as strong of a push for certain race/class combos (or general overpoweredness, in the case of humans).  The racial minimum would reflect a baseline characteristic of a race.  The floating +1 would reflect a trait your character was born with.  And the normal allocation of the rest of the stats would reflect the effects that your character's training and experiences have had.

Humans might also be due some other racial benefit... perhaps training in the choice of Heraldry, Folklore, or Nature (to reflect the character's upbringing?), or maybe gaining a +1 bonus to all skill checks made with a chosen stat?

 
I like the idea of stat minimums. Dragonlance 5th Age and Alternity both did this.

In Alternity the human stat range was 4-14, while another species might be 8-16 for one stat and 3-12 for another stat.

In DL5A, you'd have Minotaurs with a minimum Physique score of 7 (ability scale was 1-9 in that system), and some races would cap at 6 for certain abilities. 
Altho what is really being proposed two messages up is a +2 in a stat with a cap on starting ability score to even things out, if you think about it in the right way.
 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Humans: No ability modifiers.
Other: +2 to one, -2 to another.

I won't be content with anything less.
Altho what is really being proposed two messages up is a +2 in a stat with a cap on starting ability score to even things out, if you think about it in the right way.
 

Eh, kind of?  With the point buy system, it costs the same to get 15 (or whatever) in a stat whether you start from 8 or start from any other number.  So if you want to have a value higher than the minimum, it'll be the same cost.  To "take advantage" of the free stat points going into the minimum, you'd have to make that stat your dump stat, and most of the time you'd be leaving your dump stat at 8 anyways.  The only way you get "free points" is if you were going to bump your dump stat to 10, and now can allocate those points to another non-primary stat.

I mean, there are certainly ways to min/max the system (there are ways to min/max any system).  But here the min/maxing is limited to your weakest stats rather than allowing you (and perhaps forcing you, depending on how you view charop) to stack a primary stat. 
Ahh okay. I was taking it as the 10 was 0 points and 11 was 1 point. But you're saying 11 would still be three points, and basically the +2 only happens if you're at 8 and +1 if you're at 9. Quite interesting. It actually has some inverse character creation effects, in that it makes that races adventurers stronger in everything except what the race is known to be good at (when you min max). Not sure I like that but I get where and why the idea has spawned. 

I enjoy the stat modifiers as they are now. An extra +1 to a stat is not as game breaking as everyone says. I get why it may not feel right, but level 12 adventurers will all have 20s anyway. Humans simply come out of the gate a bit more vigorously. And yeah, 12 levels is also a long time to be ahead. But from 4-8 they're not ahead and the other 8 levels they're only ahead by +1 and the next 8 levels its even again - with other races actually being a bit more in depth in their 'I'm good at' category due to their other abilities.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Ahh okay. I was taking it as the 10 was 0 points and 11 was 1 point. But you're saying 11 would still be three points, and basically the +2 only happens if you're at 8 and +1 if you're at 9. Quite interesting. It actually has some inverse character creation effects, in that it makes that races adventurers stronger in everything except what the race is known to be good at (when you min max). Not sure I like that but I get where and why the idea has spawned. 

I enjoy the stat modifiers as they are now. An extra +1 to a stat is not as game breaking as everyone says. I get why it may not feel right, but level 12 adventurers will all have 20s anyway. Humans simply come out of the gate a bit more vigorously. And yeah, 12 levels is also a long time to be ahead. But from 4-8 they're not ahead and the other 8 levels they're only ahead by +1 and the next 8 levels its even again - with other races actually being a bit more in depth in their 'I'm good at' category due to their other abilities.

Yeah, I was thinking about that "inverse effect" too, trying to play around with different situations.  I don't *think* it'd be a very strong effect though.

Lets take the choice between making a High Elf Wizard and a Hill Dwarf Wizard.  With the stat minimum system, they'd both max out their INT scores identically and progress at an identical rate, so there is no min/max concern at the high end.  The min/maxing would come in at the low end.  Both wizards would probably take STR as their dump stat, but the dwarf could take CON as his "dump", and use the two saved points to bump STR up to 10.  The elf would just have 8 STR and 10 CON (most likely).  So in this situation, the dwarf wizard would have a small increase in his STR relative to the elf wizard (who gets no stat benefit).

However, that increase has to be taken in the context of the other racial features.  The dwarf would also get a bigger Hit Die and an additional +1 HP, but would also move slower.  The elf, meanwhile, would get an extra cantrip and have full movement.  The rest of the racial benefits are roughly a wash (poison vs charm resistance, axe/hammer vs bow/sword training, and Dungeoneering vs Listen and Spot) So the min/max calculation becomes "is +1 HP, slightly better healing and a marginal STR bump worth giving up 5ft of movement and the flexibility of an additional at-will?"  Its a much closer differential than the current "+1 HP vs movement, cantrip and extra damage, accuracy, dc and skill checks for the first 12 levels"

Incidentally, the other thing that bothers me about the current +1 stat system with regards to humans is that right now, humans are the best at anything.  If Wood Elves are supposed to be the dexterious race, then why is an elven ranger's max starting Dex score a 17 (15, +1 racial bonus, +1 class bonus), while a human ranger can get an 18 (15, +2 racial bonus, +1 class bonus?).  And the human has better minimums to boot?  And since the stat cap is 20, basically at no point in time ever will the elf ever be more dexterous than a human, despite being from the race famed for being the pinnacle of lithe grace.  It's a bit skewed...
The +2 is what really irks people I guess. It skews it and is so very marginal in the end. Like I said, its ultimately only a few levels where it even matters. Wipe it and give a skill or two instead. 

What a race is 'good at' shouldn't be bound up in stats alone anyway. And I think our focus on it is just too heavy. Stats don't matter nearly as much as we pretend that they do. A couple members of my group nearly died at how OVERPOWERED the monk level 20 ability is. I completely disagree. 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I have hated the human stat bonus since playtest 1, and I see they haven't fixed it yet.  Humans are better at everything than everone else, and it completely wrecks the flavor of the races.  The average human adventurer is tougher than the average dwarven adventurer, more graceful than the average elf, and so on.

That isn't versatility.  That is dominance.  There has to be a better way (and there are suggestions in this thread at least worth considering).

You could pick a human stat (Charisma, since they are everyone's 'second best friend?') and treat them like any other race.

Give humans their own unique racial abilites (as seen from demihuman point of view).  Maybe humans have an advantage with divine magic.  Maybe they heal faster (dwarves take more damage, but humans recover quicker).  Give them an extra skill.  Give them a chosen weapon where they increase damage dice because humans can have traditions, too.  You have elves using longswords and bows.  How about Spears and Heavy swords for humans (combined with charisma bonus to make a fearsome paladin, I guess).

Quit trying to make humans generic and give them their own culture, history, and traits - just like any other race. 
I have hated the human stat bonus since playtest 1, and I see they haven't fixed it yet.  Humans are better at everything than everone else, and it completely wrecks the flavor of the races.  The average human adventurer is tougher than the average dwarven adventurer, more graceful than the average elf, and so on.



Same, it was horrible from the start, and I don't get why they haven't even played with it in the least. It might seem like a small issue, but if they don't fix it by the final release, D&D Next isn't a game I'll play.
^ I wouldn't toss an entire system because I disagreed with a +1. 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
^ I wouldn't toss an entire system because I disagreed with a +1. 



It's not the +1, it's the utter lack of creativity in designing humans that's the problem.
Actually as I've said before the +1 to all stats works it does exactly what I would expect from humans diversity being able to do a few things that normally aren't part of your job. The +2 crushes fluff though remove it and change the other races to a +2 to whatever stat and it fixes the feel A high elf actually becomes the best Wizard A Dwarf actually becomes the toughest fighter. The human is just better at doing things his class doesn't normally do. You do need to add something for balance porpouses though. I find a bonus feat works fine I'd prefer an action point style mechanic as a bone for the 4E action hero Idea. But a bonus feat gets the job done fine.
I hate how humans are always the best race to pick. I understand they are trying to make them special since it seems so enticing to be something that you aren't. But the answer is to make humans unique instead of generic. Right now it seems almost stupid to be anything but a human since all your stats go up. If I want to power-game then why would I ever pick anything else? Honestly, I think a skill bonus and a feat also makes human better as well. I've definitely played a human just to gain that extra feat in order to have all the feats I wanted to start with. 

Personally, I think you have to define what humans are in the world and what they normally do. What are they the best at? What kinds of things do they make? What kinds of humans are there? Are there sub-races? Instead of just assigning them a bunch of stats why not look at us as a whole and then come up with something that fits? Perhaps create a few sub-races since there is more than just 'human' in our world. 
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I really don't think humans are always the best race to pick even as a power gamer.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I really don't think humans are always the best race to pick even as a power gamer.



In 3.5 they got more skill ranks and extra feat- how is that not more powerful than most? Even in 4e they got a feat they could just choose as well as  a +2 to any score. I just think it gives them more power compared to everyone else. Its like they are just trying to make them more special on purpose. I think humans need to be more defined.
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This is the first edition of D&D where I thought there was any advantage at all to playing a human.

As one example, if I'm making a tank, I'd much rather make a hill dwarf than a human. 

If I'm building a dual wielding rogue, I'd go with a halfling instead as well.that +1 is very temporary in terms of how long it persists or matters.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
This is the first edition of D&D where I thought there was any advantage at all to playing a human.

As one example, if I'm making a tank, I'd much rather make a hill dwarf than a human. 

If I'm building a dual wielding rogue, I'd go with a halfling instead as well.that +1 is very temporary in terms of how long it persists or matters.


I'm sorry I didn't start playing until 3.5 so I know nothing about first, second, or third edition, honestly. I just think that there is more of an advantage to picking a human because of what they gain when choosing it versus anything else.
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I'm simply disagreeing. There are plenty of benefits to the other races. A human fighter has no advantage over a dwarven fighter. Dwarves make up the damage and the hps with ability for example. 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I really don't think humans are always the best race to pick even as a power gamer.



In 3.5 they got more skill ranks and extra feat- how is that not more powerful than most? Even in 4e they got a feat they could just choose as well as  a +2 to any score. I just think it gives them more power compared to everyone else. Its like they are just trying to make them more special on purpose. I think humans need to be more defined.

Take a 3.5E slinger/throwing weapon character. Play a halfling and you have a +3 to hit and +2 to AC over the human. That seems better than a feat and extra skill points...