Human Stat Bonuses

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I have a question about the Human Race stat bonuses.  My group has not liked them for a couple of reasons.

First, it seems very good.  It was combined with a series of excellent die rolls, but the +1, +2 bonus allowed several members of my party to start out with 20s in their primary category.  I am not sure, mathematically, how unlikely that is, but I think out of my six player party, everyone who was human ended up with a 20 after using their +2 and class bonus.  We didn't like this because it seems very strong, and also seems ridiculous that humans are regularly going to be able to be more strong than dwarves, or dextrous than halflings, or whatever you like.

Second, we thought it was way less fun than the racial bonuses that other races got.  There are some traits that are just cool, and humans miss out.

Thoughts?
I like it, out of all the editions racial bonuses I like these the best.  Humans get a tiny raw stat advantage, but demi-humans get some pretty amazing bonuses which can't be replaced elsewhere.

If anything, I feel that humans might be a bit weak over time, with the 20 natural cap to abilities.  The non-humans will eventually catch up the human's 20, but the human will never gain the special bonuses the non-humans have.

Also, another thought: your players are either cheaters or you let them use some absurd rolling method, because natural 18s and even 17s shouldn't be that common. 
Honestly I think they were just super human.  We sat down and rolled the dice together as a group, following the instructions: Roll four d6, discard the lowest, add 'em up, and repeat six times.
First, it seems very good...
Second, we thought it was way less fun than the racial bonuses that other races got.  There are some traits that are just cool, and humans miss out.

Those two thoughts seems antithetical. Players pay a premium to be a cool, unique-ish race. Are you indicating that the premium is too high, or not high enough?

Or are you saying that your players want both the high stats and cool abilities (ultimately resulting in no one being human)?

fwiw: I agree that the human racial bonuses seem pretty high, but the other races still seem to be selected more than I would've thought, while I actually want players that select non-human races to feel somewhat rare (and special). Maybe WotC is doing it exactly right here.

Humans should be inferior as specialists but better as generalists. I think elves, dwarves, etc should have +2 instead of +1 and humans should have +1 to everything. Also, humans should cap out lower than other races, either 18/20 or 20/22.

In exchange, they should get a cool passive ability like +1 to saves or something like that.
I think humans are perfectly fine. They are the most bland of all the races because they have no special racial features. However because they are a sort of jack-of-all-trades race they have a small bonus to each ability (+1). I think the +2 makes sense as well because although they are a little bit better than normal at various things they still have a specialty.

If multiple players got 17 or 18 stats after rolling that got boosted to 20 then you should just tell them that you feel they are starting out too powerful and need to either reroll or accept a nerf from you (perhaps subtract from any score above 18 and add that to their lowest scores instead).
In exchange, they should get a cool passive ability like +1 to saves or something like that.

That's how 4e worked, but often only experienced players (who knew how to best use such things) chose human. I see value in new players (and min/maxers) gravitating to simple humans, saving more complicated races for those that truly want it.

Humans should be inferior as specialists but better as generalists.

That is exactly what they are as currently written.

A human Fighter can get a solid set of ability scores, possibly even having every modifier as good or better than a dwarven fighter... but that dwarven fighter still has higher damage potential and greater hit points or armor class, which are the "big things" that a fighter is meant to have.

And the same is true when comparing a human wizard to an elf, or a human rogue to a halfling.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla

Can you explain to me how a dwarven fighter has better damage potential than a human fighter?


*Using stat arrays*


A dwarf has max of 16 strength, and has either [+1 con and +1 hp / level] or  [+1 wis and +1 ac]


16/15/13/12/10/8


A human has a max of 18 strength, and can get +1 con, or +1 dexterity modifier, depending on which is your "13".


18/15/14/13/11/9

The increase of weapon die size is equivalent to +1 damage on average (slightly more due to critical hits). A human will get a +1 damage bonus from having +1 strength modifier anyways. And +1 to hit is way better than +1 damage, especially since most of your damage is from martial dice anyways and eventually the flat damage bonus. +1 to hit is equivalent to another +1 damage once you get to level 5+.

Plus, having +1 ability modifer means you can succeed in skills and saving throws 5% more often.


Every player in my group acknowledges that this advantage is too strong... and also that humans are too boring as is. Thats why I would like their raw power to be turned down and for them to have utilities like everyone else.

Can you explain to me how a dwarven fighter has better damage potential than a human fighter?

Two parts:

1) I was assuming all other factors being made equal, namely that ability scores are rolled rather than bought or arrayed because that reduces a number of the "problems" with the human racial modifiers that people have (note: I also advocate a ruling that specifically prevents anyone from having to play a character of significantly poor ability - such as HackMaster's shopkeeper rule, but not necessarily with the same qualifications).

2) Doing a little side-by-side comparison of a human and dwarf fighter with both being built with the array and trying to maximize their overall ability modifiers... the differences in the two boil down to the human having +1 on Con and Int saves over the dwarf, unless I am missing something.

Human: S 16, D 14, C 16, I 10, W 13, C 11
Dwarf: S 16, D 14, C 14, I 8, W 12, C 10
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla

I guess the issue here is playstyle. 


For min/maxers or powergamers... this is a problem.


for people who only care about role playing... the numbers are seldom a problem since... its not a priority.

Now... most players fall somewhere in between... they don't mind being sub-optimal but they don't want to be underpowered either. Even if its only a 5% difference mathematically, just the fact that humans have better potential lingers in the back of your mind and gives people a reason to complain.


And the point is that the most agile elf should outperform the most agile human... and so on for the other races. That is simply not the case in the way its set up right now. I understand that most stories are human-centric, but in some settings humans are inferior to the other races and win only because of numbers or trickery. In terms of what should be core... thats hard to say... I can only give my opinion.

And the point is that the most agile elf should outperform the most agile human... and so on for the other races.



I don't agree, if by "agile" we are talking about the Dexterity score. There are only six ability scores; I suspect there will be dozens of non-human races in the core and modules. The model of non-human-must-be-better-than-human-in-this-one-stat doesn't really work when you get a pile of non-humans camping on each stat, all demanding that the human can't be as good.

I think the way to get a non-human better in a particular area is to give them an ability rather than an ability score increase. I like the Dwarven poison resistance for that reason; a dwarf is hardier than a human, and it has to do with being a dwarf rather than having a high Constitution score.



I didn't mean to imply that ALL races have to to be better than humans at one attribute... I am just saying that each race should have its own pros and cons. 

Also, your poison example doesn't work... some poisons don't do damage... making resistance worthless.

"Melee Attack—Bite: +7 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). 
Hit: 25 (4d10 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must
make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw. Failed Save: The
target’s hit point maximum drops by an amount equal to
the damage taken. This is a poison effect. After 24 hours,
or if the poison is neutralized, the target’s hit point
maximum returns to normal."

D&D is very complex... it is hard to balance all the bits and pieces... especially when you have lots of different ways to do the same thing. Hardiness could be advantage on poison saving throws, half damage from poison effects, half duration from poison effects, and plenty more I can't think of right now.

Thats why the best way to keep things balanced is to make them all follow the same format. That is why I think humans should get a weapon proficiency, 2 sub-races, and +1 to one attribute just like all the other races. I don't see why they are "special." I am not saying they should be *identical,* but I think what they have right now between halflings, elves, and dwarves is a good template that should be applied to humans.

for people who only care about role playing... the numbers are seldom a problem since... its not a priority.

This is a case where numbers hurt the role-playing, though.  From a game standpoint, +1 to a bunch of stats you don't care about (with every class having between two and four stats that they don't really need) is actually right about on target.  It's the fluff implications of those bonuses - that the average human out-performs an average member of every other race in every category - which really bothers me.

The metagame is not the game.
Also, your poison example doesn't work... some poisons don't do damage... making resistance worthless.

Dwarves don't just get resistance to poison damage, they also get advantage on saving throws against poison - meaning that dwarves are less affected by every type of poison, including the one you used as an example.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla

My houserule is currently - Humans : One trained skill, +1 to one Attribute, +1 to one Saving throw.


but i'm thinking about fleshing out a bunch of cultural choices, eg Urban, Military, Rural, Gypsy, Barbarian with maybe a skill and contact each.

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.


Can you explain to me how a dwarven fighter has better damage potential than a human fighter?


*Using stat arrays*


A dwarf has max of 16 strength, and has either [+1 con and +1 hp / level] or  [+1 wis and +1 ac]


16/15/13/12/10/8


A human has a max of 18 strength, and can get +1 con, or +1 dexterity modifier, depending on which is your "13".


18/15/14/13/11/9



You forgot about the bonus stat from your class, and the bonus stats at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20.  And then you need to consider the stat natural limit of 20.

Over time, every character, human or not, is going to reach natural 20 on it's most important attribute, if it wants to.  Eventually, the dwarf fight is going to be just as strong as the human.  But the human fighter will NEVER get the free increased damage die, the free extra hp per level, the free +1 AC, poison resistance, or any of the other cool dwarf bonus.

From a min-maxer's perspective, humans are arguably strong at level 1, but as you level up they fall behind the other races.


It's the fluff implications of those bonuses - that the average human out-performs an average member of every other race in every category - which really bothers me.





These are the rules for creating human CHARACTERS.  It's not written in stone that every human NPC has the same ability score adjustments.  A player character is not an average member of the race, not at all.


 

My houserule is currently - Humans : One trained skill, +1 to one Attribute, +1 to one Saving throw.


but i'm thinking about fleshing out a bunch of cultural choices, eg Urban, Military, Rural, Gypsy, Barbarian with maybe a skill and contact each.




I'd be amazed if anyone willingly plays a human in your game, that is just horrible.
I think the point about non-human races catching up on points eventually is a very good one.  We only have reached level two and I've spent little time thinking about the advancement, just thinking about the beginning of the game.

I guess the point that I was trying to make is that most of my players chose to be humans at the beginning because those stat bonuses seemed pretty amazing for people who are unfamiliar with the new rule set, and that is unfortunate because I think the other races are awesome and fun.  Probably most people who play D&D aren't going to be people who are either min-maxers or who are extremely familiar with the rules.  They will sit down and say "+7 to my points?  That's way more than +1!  I'm going to do that!"  And that'd be unfortunate.

I should also clarify that I don't have a problem with the +1 across the board, but I think the +2 is troubling especially when you are also going to get another +1 from your class.

Finally, while it might be true that all races will likely eventually get to 20 in their primary stat, I still don't think it is good for it to be "easy" for humans to do so for the sake of the game - if you can never improve your primary stat for the entire course of the game, that removes one of the cool parts of improving your hero over time.  If you start at 20 in strength as a fighter, it's never going to feel as exciting to get +1 to an ability, because you'll throw it somewhere else and feel like your hero didn't get significantly stronger.
These are the rules for creating human CHARACTERS.  It's not written in stone that every human NPC has the same ability score adjustments.  A player character is not an average member of the race, not at all.

It doesn't say either way, which kind of bugs me, but the ambiguity is necessary to avoid directly putting anyone off from the game.  If they came right out and said that PCs are special and use special rules, like in 4E, then I would have zero interest whatsoever in playing this game.

Traditionally, there has been no difference between PCs and NPCs (except in that PCs tended to have class levels, where most NPCs were level 0 commoners - but NPC fighters/wizards/clerics all used the rules in the book).  Third edition first codified that PCs have higher attributes than NPCs (on average, as a default option, but not the only option), although that was more to prevent people from needing to roll stats a million times before getting a set that was conducive to playing; AD&D also had options for letting PCs have higher stats, but those weren't default.  In no case have PCs and NPCs ever possessed different racial abilities.

The metagame is not the game.
And the point is that the most agile elf should outperform the most agile human... and so on for the other races.

20-limit disagrees.
That's where any fix needs to be.  It'll only affect the very top end (somewhere around level 16, probably), and won't really forcefeed tropes and/or screw up builds before then.

What bothers me about the 20 cap approach to balance on this is that it smacks of the whole fighter/wizard paradigm. "You start out worse, but eventually you'll get better and then the other guy will suck!" That's a design choice I fundamentally disagree with. Humans are good right now, but they should be. All races should be good. They only seem overpowered because the other races are a little lackluster. Dwarves and Elves need some slight tweaking, but Halflings really need a workout.
While reading this I had an idea on the level cap issue. I could see keeping all the ability bonuses the same, and saying that certain non-human races(elves and dwarves for example) could cap one ability (Dex for elves, con for dwarves, etc.) at 22, while the other abilities remain capped at 20. Humans (and possibly half humans) would cap at 20 for all stats. So humans start with an ability advantage, but an elf or a dwarf could go higher in that one ability. Also, I'd like to see humans get their bonus feat or maybe an additional skill trained.
I think one of the problems is that humans should be the baseline. It doesn't make sense to give them a bonus that other races can't get. Why should a human's stats be better overall? Why should they know an extra skill? Why should a dwarf not? 

Another problem is that the demi-human races get bonuses that shoehorn you into being a stereotype. Why is every dwarf, regardless of where he or she was raised, trained in dungeoneering? Why is every elf better with swords and bows than other races? Do members of these races have a list of activities that they push onto every single person from a young age like some oppressive Jedi order? And why are halflings lucky??? That makes no sense at all.

Here's an idea: Each race has a list of things at which they can excel. Have a couple of skills that make sense, some traditional weapons, and some abilities (like immunities, resistances, vision types, and so on). Each player picks three (or however many) of those from the list. And instead of making races the way George Lucas makes planets, we can say, "Most dwarves I've met are good with an axe," and, "Many elves are gifted with keen eyesight," instead of, "All dwarves fight with axes," and, "Elves have better eyesight than all other races." For humans, you let them pick from all skills and weapons, and have a smaller, more generalized list of the "weird" abilities (to represent things like "He has some elf blood in him somewhere down the line," or, "I don't know why I can do that. I've just kind of been able to for as long as I can remember.")

And I really wish we could do away with ability score bonuses from race. That's just power creep baked into the system. Dwarves aren't tough because they are dwarves; they're tough because they work in mines and fight giants their whole lives. But not every dwarf does that. Elves don't have a high dexterity because they are elves; they have a high dex because they spend their lives hiding and scouting in the forest, jumping from limb to limb in trees, and training with ranged weapons. But not every elf does that. And any human could spend his life working in mines or scouting the forest for danger; and they should get any benefit from it demi-humans do. Ability score bonuses serve only to enforce stereotypical characters.

Same with class, but for a different reason. Being a fighter doesn't make you strong and tough; being strong and tough allows you to be a good fighter. The double dip is unnecessary.
Another problem is that the demi-human races get bonuses that shoehorn you into being a stereotype. Why is every dwarf, regardless of where he or she was raised, trained in dungeoneering? Why is every elf better with swords and bows than other races?

In the default game setting, which is an entirely coherent place based heavily on Tolkien, race and culture are tied together very closely.  So yes, every dwarf was raised under the mountain, and every elf trains with swords and bows.  If that's not true for whatever world you play in, then feel free to change those traits.
Here's an idea: Each race has a list of things at which they can excel. Have a couple of skills that make sense, some traditional weapons, and some abilities (like immunities, resistances, vision types, and so on). Each player picks three (or however many) of those from the list.

This ends up just being just another area to min-max; the fighter types choose the +weapon damage traits and vision, and the caster types pick the traits that are most useful to casting.  Giving every race a mixture of various traits is the best way to make sure that individuals get any flavorful race abilities that aren't just pure min-max.
Same with class, but for a different reason. Being a fighter doesn't make you strong and tough; being strong and tough allows you to be a good fighter. The double dip is unnecessary.

It's more like a feedback loop - if you're strong, then it helps you swing a sword more easily, but swinging a sword for hours on end is quite a workout and will get you in better shape.  That part is entirely reasonable.

The metagame is not the game.
Another problem is that the demi-human races get bonuses that shoehorn you into being a stereotype. Why is every dwarf, regardless of where he or she was raised, trained in dungeoneering? Why is every elf better with swords and bows than other races?

In the default game setting, which is an entirely coherent place based heavily on Tolkien, race and culture are tied together very closely.  So yes, every dwarf was raised under the mountain, and every elf trains with swords and bows.  If that's not true for whatever world you play in, then feel free to change those traits.



Race and culture can be closely tied together without going to the level of forced stereotypes. Yes, I know D&D was influenced by Tolkien. We all know the races elf, dwarf and halfling really mean Legolas, Gimli and Bilbo. But the 'based on Tolkien' defense doesn't hold up when you consider that elves in Middle Earth were basically super-heroes. They are faster, wiser, more beautiful, more in tune with nature, more in tune with the spiritual, taller, live forever, can recover from great wounds that men would die from, can reincarnate, can see better, can hear better, can smell better, are more creative, can walk on top of snow, and so on. They are better than humans in most every way.

How can you balance a human against that? Hell, Aragorn was only as special as he was because he had elven ancestors. But that doesn't matter, because the D&D elf is not so much based on Tolkien's elves as they are based on Legolas alone. And I don't have a problem with someone playing an elf like Legolas, but I don't want anyone to be forced to go that route. Elrond was a great healer, but not every D&D elf has healing powers. So why is every elf inherently good with bows and swords? Because Legolas was, and he was cool.

I know this isn't as big a deal to most as it is to me, but it just rubs the wrong way. I can live with it if when it ends up being just the same in the final form of Next, though. It's not a deal-breaker; it's just that this is the perfect time to fix things like this that don't really work how they should. It's time to start treating elves and dwarves like people instead of clone armies.  

Here's an idea: Each race has a list of things at which they can excel. Have a couple of skills that make sense, some traditional weapons, and some abilities (like immunities, resistances, vision types, and so on). Each player picks three (or however many) of those from the list.

This ends up just being just another area to min-max; the fighter types choose the +weapon damage traits and vision, and the caster types pick the traits that are most useful to casting.  Giving every race a mixture of various traits is the best way to make sure that individuals get any flavorful race abilities that aren't just pure min-max.



That's no different than just picking your race based on which class you're going to play. Any amount of choice is going to cause some degree of min-maxing in D&D. Just don't make the features too powerful. And do away with raising weapon dice to the next die. Especially if expertise dice are going to use your weapon's damage die like the podcast said. Just offer proficiency with those weapons instead. I don't want the game system telling me that for some ethereal reason a human fighter with an 18 strength can't deal as much damage with an axe as a dwarven fighter with an 18 strength can using the same exact axe. 

Same with class, but for a different reason. Being a fighter doesn't make you strong and tough; being strong and tough allows you to be a good fighter. The double dip is unnecessary.

It's more like a feedback loop - if you're strong, then it helps you swing a sword more easily, but swinging a sword for hours on end is quite a workout and will get you in better shape.  That part is entirely reasonable.



It's not unreasonable as much as it is unnecessary. The way I see it, that high strength score you start the game with represents the training you underwent to become a fighter. You weren't born with a 16 strength; you got stronger over time by exercising your muscles. When you first started learning how to swing a sword, you probably had a 10 strength. Maybe you were drafted into the military and sent off for training, and then to fight in the Great Orc Wars. By the time you got back from the war, your strength had gone up to 16. And that's when you start the campaign as a 1st level fighter. Where does the extra +1 come in? It's not needed, as the points or high roll you put into your strength already explains everything that +1 is trying to.
One thing I think they need to go to is one static stat point for a race and one point the player can put wherever they like. That way the race give the flavor stat point, but doesn't lean players towards, well if I want to be a wizard I need to play a high elf or a human.
One thing I think they need to go to is one static stat point for a race and one point the player can put wherever they like. That way the race give the flavor stat point, but doesn't lean players towards, well if I want to be a wizard I need to play a high elf or a human.



you don't -need- to be an elf or a human, you want to be an elf or a human because you want the stats as you have perceived them to be needed.

but they aren't, the point of a bounded acuracy system is to strip away such a strong desire for stats. in fact i would argue that being allowed to wear medium armour as a wizard would be an AMAZING boost for you, seeing how wizards come with no armour proficiency, that a difference of an AC max of 15 (provided your wizard has a 20 dex) and an AC max of 18 (provided your wizard has 14 dex). the numbers for a wizard with no dex are 10 and 16.

even a halfling wizard would have a grab bag of useful tricks like lucky and naturally stealthy
Where is bounded accuracy listed at? I haven't been able to find rules for it or opportunity attacks.
Where is bounded accuracy listed at? I haven't been able to find rules for it or opportunity attacks.




it's not listed, it's their design phiolosophy.

stats are bound to 20, you can't go any higher, meaning everything in the world is bound ito a scale of 1 to 20.