What do you think about Subraces?

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So I've been creating some custom content for the playtest, and I've been going back and forth on subraces (at least how they are presented in the packet). There are good and bad things about them. 

What do you guys think about the subraces in the packet, or how they have been presented in general? 
My two copper.
 They are kind of lame. They do not generally offer that much that is interesting. The concept isn't to bad but subraces are kind of splat book material for me.
I'm pro sub-race, up to a point. A maximum of 6 per race would be where I draw the line, which is a few more than most would care to have.
I always felt that the different races were the sub-races of humanity.  

If different sub-races (of elves, dwarves, etc) are enough to have different stats, then they deserve to be different races entirely..
The metagame is not the game.
I'm pro sub-race, up to a point. A maximum of 6 per race would be where I draw the line, which is a few more than most would care to have.



Three elves walk into a bar...nothing happens, but now we have a new sub-race called "bar elves".


I go back and forth.

One one hand, I like simple non-cultural race mechanics.  I like a "blank slate", unburdened by fluffy mechanics.  Just the genetics, ma'am.

On the other hand, I like coming up with alternate versions of fantasy races for my custom worlds; unique twists or variations of the races and their tropes interest me.  Sub-races, as a mechanical framework, can be utilized to represent this.

That said, I think the current sub-races are boring and uninteresting.  All they generally do is reinforce tired tropes with fluffy mechanics, which, as mentioned above, is something I do not care for.
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
I always felt that the different races were the sub-races of humanity.  

If different sub-races (of elves, dwarves, etc) are enough to have different stats, then they deserve to be different races entirely..


Wouldn't that take up a lot of space? Additionally, wouldn't that mean that there would have to be 6 different human races?
I'm pro sub-race, up to a point. A maximum of 6 per race would be where I draw the line, which is a few more than most would care to have.



Three elves walk into a bar...nothing happens, but now we have a new sub-race called "bar elves".




They've cornered the market on shelled peanuts, wasabi peas, and mixed drinks.
I like them to whatever extent that they're a convenient delivery mechanism for important mechanical aspects of the game, like delivering seven different elf tropes without giving an individual character more than five racial abilities, but I don't care all that much about them for their own sake. I know that Arbitrary Symmetry is probably going to land us with exactly two subraces for every demihuman race, which I'm also basically fine with.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I like subraces and how culture and mechanics are framed up. I especially like how the structure is in place to welcome more subraces from different sources or setting.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Lesp:  good point about arbitrary symettry, and about allowing the developers an easy way to fufill tropes.

I'm pretty meh about the races in general right now.   In 4e, which I liked, most (all?) of the races had some power that was unique to them.  So, my half-elf bard was lucky, and the dwarf was stout.  That seemed to strike a good balance -- it meant that your dwarf felt different from my half-elf without you needing to constantly talk in an funny accent and drink beer.   It let the races play differently without forcing the every individual of a race to act and talk the same.

In the last packet, the dwarves get a bit more hp, and do a bit more damage with their favoured weapon.   enh.     The halfling, at least, gets something interesting, and, the elf is okay.    I just wish the races were a bit more interesting, which could allow the subraces to be more interesting.
I don't like sub-races, they don't make sense to me.
An Elf is an Elf, a Dwarf is a Dwarf, a Human is a Human, wheres the issue?
Half- Races also don't make sense, if they can breed, they're the same Race, Duh! 
Overall i like it.  It gives more options.

Race = genetics.  (Race is X feet tall, lives Y years, and has feature Z).
Sub-Race = culture.  (Lives  in X, spends time doing Y, and wears Z).

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I'm pro sub-race, up to a point. A maximum of 6 per race would be where I draw the line, which is a few more than most would care to have.



Three elves walk into a bar...nothing happens, but now we have a new sub-race called "bar elves".




They've cornered the market on shelled peanuts, wasabi peas, and mixed drinks.


Dwarves are pissed because they started stealing their poison resistance
My two copper.
Lesp:  good point about arbitrary symettry, and about allowing the developers an easy way to fufill tropes.

I'm pretty meh about the races in general right now.   In 4e, which I liked, most (all?) of the races had some power that was unique to them.  So, my half-elf bard was lucky, and the dwarf was stout.  That seemed to strike a good balance -- it meant that your dwarf felt different from my half-elf without you needing to constantly talk in an funny accent and drink beer.   It let the races play differently without forcing the every individual of a race to act and talk the same.

In the last packet, the dwarves get a bit more hp, and do a bit more damage with their favoured weapon.   enh.     The halfling, at least, gets something interesting, and, the elf is okay.    I just wish the races were a bit more interesting, which could allow the subraces to be more interesting.



Actually, I have been on the fence about giving each race a unique 1/day ability. Not only does it help them feel different (not that they don't already feel different, this just helps the matter), but it actually fits really well with the source material.

What are your guys view on giving race an ability like 1/day or some such? Nothing powerful, but more or less more race defining. Even in 3.5 we had gnomes who could cast Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, and...was it light? I can't remember. But there is some small, non 4e, precident
My two copper.
As long as WotC doesn't feel compeled to give every race it's own equal sized set of sub-races, I think it is a tolerably decent way to cover the set of racial tropes/archetypes. Breaking it up into race/culture might be better, but starts to get tweaky becuase racial and cultural stuff overlap and intermix in complex ways. Sub-races lets them break up groups with really distinct cultures and break up groups with distinct physical traits at the same time.

So, for me, sub-races seem like a way to not pigeon hole a race.  I don't want to play a Dwarf fighter, so I play sub-race x to get my bonus in wisdom or so on.

I am OK with sub-races in general, but to me its 90% roleplay, 10% function.

Why not instead make 8 options that are part of the race, and let the player pick 2 or 3 they want, and make their own racial background?

"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

Let´s imagine gnome PC with optional subraces....what if I like a alternative list of racial traits but the background of the other subrace?


Subraces are open doors, new alternatives. It isn´t a bad idea, but it needs a good game design.

Any PC races can´t have got subraces (they could but it would be too dificoult).

 

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I actually don't like sub-races....i prefer to have more races and those being atleast significant diferent...3rd edition (and late 4e) went crazy with their elven subraces.

If you are adding subraces to everything...why not human? i mean...Elder Scrolls do that...imperial, nord, red guard and breton are basically hispanic, caucasic, african and asian
I think the half-breeds ar the human subraces.  Half-elf, half-orc, tiefling, githyanki, githzerai, shifter, vryloka, shadar-kai, mul, and skulk. These are the human subraces.

I really really dislike the notion of distinguishing humans inherently on the basis of race. Any human subraces should be based on a magical alteration.
Backgrounds, themes, traits and regional feats should define humans. Most D&D cultures are based on rela life ones and its not worth opening a can of worms for human genetics (this race gets +1, this race gets +1 to something else).

 Someone fomr England or a fantasy version of it could get a tria bonus on swim or profesison sailr checks. a neo Frederick Prussia country/Teutonic Knights could have a regional feat for martial weapons like they have in 3rd ed FR.
I am not a big fan of subraces, mostly because I see them as enabling elf fanboys.

"Look, my elf makes a great wizard.  Oh, this elf makes a good rogue. This one makes a great ranger!  Look, elves are the best at EVERYTHING!  Hey, this elf can fly!  And this elf can breathe underwater!"

FEH.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I am not a big fan of subraces, mostly because I see them as enabling elf fanboys.

"Look, my elf makes a great wizard.  Oh, this elf makes a good rogue. This one makes a great ranger!  Look, elves are the best at EVERYTHING!  Hey, this elf can fly!  And this elf can breathe underwater!"

FEH.



 This. I lean towards Elf, dark elf, aquatic elf and thats it. Half elves don't really count. I like FR but it was a big offender in 3rd ed for this. Star Elf gets a charisma bonus, this elf flys, this one turns into a wolf, and then you have the 5 "core" sub races in the FRCS. Thats at least 8 elf sub races. This Elf has lived on a vein of quartz for 2 generations, Crystal Elf yay.

 If elves had some sort of in game gentic disposition t mutation maybe but AFAIK they don't. Darksun Elves were sweet, Eberron elves were interesting.
I am not a big fan of subraces, mostly because I see them as enabling elf fanboys.

"Look, my elf makes a great wizard.  Oh, this elf makes a good rogue. This one makes a great ranger!  Look, elves are the best at EVERYTHING!  Hey, this elf can fly!  And this elf can breathe underwater!"

FEH.


Yet...you are a huge advocate for allowing classes to do everything. 
My two copper.
Any race can be a class though Jenks. There was a heavy Elves are uber mentality in pre 3rd ed D&D and in 3rd ed Forgotten Relams which had around 8 subraces of elves. FR elf subraces had a bonus to Dex, Int, Str, Cha and I'm not sure about wisdom but elves made good clerics anyway and no class had con as a prime ability score.

 Generally you could find an elf subrace for almost any class and those Elf races did not have a level adjustment.

 2nd ed was odd where elves actually made great fighters, rangers and Rogues as opposed to wizards and they had the best equipment. In 3rd ed the Dwarf was a better wizard than the PHB Elf, and elves made good Celrics, and skill monkey types (Rangers, Rogus etc).
I wasn't saying Salla was wrong. It was just a suprising contrast to his usual posts
My two copper.
I am not a big fan of subraces, mostly because I see them as enabling elf fanboys.

"Look, my elf makes a great wizard.  Oh, this elf makes a good rogue. This one makes a great ranger!  Look, elves are the best at EVERYTHING!  Hey, this elf can fly!  And this elf can breathe underwater!"

FEH.


Yet...you are a huge advocate for allowing classes to do everything. 



Because race and class are two different things, perhaps.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Depends on what version you are playing.

Anyone else think..."Up periscope" when they first saw this thread?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

If you are adding subraces to everything...why not human?

As hatta pointed out earlier, it is kind of like your human sub-race corresponds to which stat gets your +2.  It would totally make sense if Imperials got the +2 to charisma and Nords gained the +2 to strength (or whatever), but it would require a lot more heavy fluff to define the different human cultures.

It's easier to include mountain dwarves and hill dwarves in their default fantasy setting, than it would be to include a Roman Empire stereotype culture and Ancient Egyptian stereotype culture and four other distinct human cultures.

I fully expect that they'd do something like that for Forgotten Realms, or something, where they already have those cultures defined. 

The metagame is not the game.
I generally like subraces, but I also loathe them.  Subraces are a decent idea that is often poorly executed, with only the environment of their origin being different.  Aquatic elves?    Give me merfolk instead.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I strongly dislike the idea of human stat bonuses being tied to specific cultures not because OMG POLITICAL CORRECTNESS but because then almost every PC human wizard comes from Smartpersonville and almost every human rogue comes from Ersatz Egypt or whatever.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I strongly dislike the idea of human stat bonuses being tied to specific cultures not because OMG POLITICAL CORRECTNESS but because then almost every PC human wizard comes from Smartpersonville and almost every human rogue comes from Ersatz Egypt or whatever.

You are still too politically correct, but I totally agree !

I strongly dislike the idea of human stat bonuses being tied to specific cultures not because OMG POLITICAL CORRECTNESS but because then almost every PC human wizard comes from Smartpersonville and almost every human rogue comes from Ersatz Egypt or whatever.

Very true. I would like human cultures to differentate them a bit, but would have to be limited to skills and options for human abilities. Given the way skills are setup in 5e, it probably shouldn't even by skill training by culture, rather I would give out a flat +1 bonus to one or two skills that fit the culture. Then two small racial abilities, one set by culture and one picked by the player. That would give enough range to seperate cultures and make them distinct, without forcing them into class by culture.

I wouldn't mind seeing racial stat adjustments go into the circular file, myself.  "I think half-orcs should be stupid!"  Well, then, when you play a half-orc, make your stupid.  You play your dude, I'll play mine.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I wouldn't mind seeing racial stat adjustments go into the circular file, myself.  "I think half-orcs should be stupid!"  Well, then, when you play a half-orc, make your stupid.  You play your dude, I'll play mine.


I agree with this.  Personally, if I were going to include a mechanic for attribute modification, I would skip over the attribute itself.  If a race is smart, don't give it a bonus to Int, give it a bonus to all checks and DCs based on Int.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I wouldn't mind seeing racial stat adjustments go into the circular file, myself.  "I think half-orcs should be stupid!"  Well, then, when you play a half-orc, make your stupid.  You play your dude, I'll play mine.


I agree with this.  Personally, if I were going to include a mechanic for attribute modification, I would skip over the attribute itself.  If a race is smart, don't give it a bonus to Int, give it a bonus to all checks and DCs based on Int.


Wouldn't that effectively make them have a bonus to the ability score?
I wouldn't mind seeing racial stat adjustments go into the circular file, myself.  "I think half-orcs should be stupid!"  Well, then, when you play a half-orc, make your stupid.  You play your dude, I'll play mine.


I agree with this.  Personally, if I were going to include a mechanic for attribute modification, I would skip over the attribute itself.  If a race is smart, don't give it a bonus to Int, give it a bonus to all checks and DCs based on Int.


Wouldn't that effectively make them have a bonus to the ability score?


It depends on how it's handled.  Note also that I was being very broad in my statement, and that I don't very much care for "X race is smarter."  Why are they smarter?  Are elves smarter because they are longer lived?  because they place a greater cultural value on study?  Different reasons for being smarter certainly imply different things.  Also, there's no reason to confer all the benefits of higher Int if the race in question isn't flavored that way.  If a race is smart but not known for being more magically gifted, there's no reason to give them a bump to their spell DCs just because they know stuff.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I see sub-race and alternate race as an opportunity to bring in a wide variety of races under more generic monickers.  In fact, I made a blog post about this.  Supply some mechanics for half-races and familiar creatures with sub/alt race mechanics and BAM, all the races you want would be pretty much there from the start... with a little kit bashing

Also, stupid half-orc?  Certainly not Scrag Steelfist!  Scrag is one of the finest actors in his community playhouse!  In fact, when he's not busy adventuring, he reads up on philosophy and improving his acting technique!

The Knights of W.T.F. may as well be ghosts, but the message still stays;

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
  • PRAISE THE SUN!
I see sub-race and alternate race as an opportunity to bring in a wide variety of races under more generic monickers.  In fact, I made a blog post about this.  Supply some mechanics for half-races and familiar creatures with sub/alt race mechanics and BAM, all the races you want would be pretty much there from the start... with a little kit bashing

Also, stupid half-orc?  Certainly not Scrag Steelfist!  Scrag is one of the finest actors in his community playhouse!  In fact, when he's not busy adventuring, he reads up on philosophy and improving his acting technique!


Got a link to this blog?
My two copper.
I see sub-race and alternate race as an opportunity to bring in a wide variety of races under more generic monickers.  In fact, I made a blog post about this.  Supply some mechanics for half-races and familiar creatures with sub/alt race mechanics and BAM, all the races you want would be pretty much there from the start... with a little kit bashing

Also, stupid half-orc?  Certainly not Scrag Steelfist!  Scrag is one of the finest actors in his community playhouse!  In fact, when he's not busy adventuring, he reads up on philosophy and improving his acting technique!


Got a link to this blog?



community.wizards.com/doctornecrotic/blo... That's the post I was refering to.  Hope you enjoy

The Knights of W.T.F. may as well be ghosts, but the message still stays;

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
  • PRAISE THE SUN!
I read the blog post. It's a very interesting concept, but it definately requires everyone to be on board. While this does please more people than not having the races entirely, I can still see some people being upset over relegating X race to a template-esc mechanic. Then again, you can't please everyone, so please as many as you can

Good post, btw. 
My two copper.