Please rewrite the Human Race!

Humans as a Race are just bland and mechanical. 

I'd much prefer some attempt at implying different cultures as sub-race write ups (like they do with other Races), maybe based upon habitat or whatnot. I know that Humans are supposed to be adaptive but the collective fluff written for them is just boring.

At the same time, could we please get rid of the +1 on every Ability score? It just looks demented, and like giving away bonuses for the sake of it.

I know it's in attempt to balance Humans with other Races, but I'd actually prefer if we went back to non-human Races getting a few penalties (like -2 Strength for Halflings) where appropriate anyway. 

Cheers. 

Some ideas:
With the ability cap, +/-2 is kinda big.  For most races I have a +1 to a key stat, then a balanced +1/-1 tweak for subrace.
Dwarves:
     All +1 Con
     Hill +1 Str, -1 Wis
     Mountain +1 Wis, -1 Cha
Elves:
     All +1 Dex
     High +1 Int, -1 Con
     Wood +1 Wis, -1 Str
Halflings:
     All +1 Dex
     Lightfoot +1 Cha, -1 Str
     Stout +1 Con, -1 Str
Humans:
     All +1 to any single Ability Score (Since humans are suppose be be most adaptable)
     Subrace +1 to any single Ability Score, -1 from any single Ability Score (Since there aren't any subraces, here's a template)
With the forthcoming feat overhaul, would it now be a problem to give humans a bonus feat? Feat haters can just use it for a +1 to an ability score instead. Get rid of the +1 to everything in any case. I'd like to see the racial penalties for other races return, too.
With the forthcoming feat overhaul, would it now be a problem to give humans a bonus feat? Feat haters can just use it for a +1 to an ability score instead. Get rid of the +1 to everything in any case. I'd like to see the racial penalties for other races return, too.



I wouldn't mind seeing the human bonus feat back.  I like that Humans are sort of a blank slate and a bonus feat is an easy way to add in an ability (all the other subraces get something) but make it customizable.
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

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theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



It's a shame, I rather liike the bonus/penalty list above, although traditionally, wood elves were stronger than other elves.  My own view is that if stats are divorced from attack rolls, the system can absorb stat penalties easily.

The current system for humans is pretty awful.  I would favour a bonus feat, even if one off a restricted list so that it can be picked even if feats are not being used in the general game.  I'd also like to see a mechanic to allow humans to spend hit dice healing for re-rolls.
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



Wait, you think a +1 is a WEAK benefit?

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Some ideas:
With the ability cap, +/-2 is kinda big.  For most races I have a +1 to a key stat, then a balanced +1/-1 tweak for subrace.
Dwarves:
     All +1 Con
     Hill +1 Str, -1 Wis
     Mountain +1 Wis, -1 Cha
Elves:
     All +1 Dex
     High +1 Int, -1 Con
     Wood +1 Wis, -1 Str
Halflings:
     All +1 Dex
     Lightfoot +1 Cha, -1 Str
     Stout +1 Con, -1 Str
Humans:
     All +1 to any single Ability Score (Since humans are suppose be be most adaptable)
     Subrace +1 to any single Ability Score, -1 from any single Ability Score (Since there aren't any subraces, here's a template)



Or you can divide subraces by the environment they have to face, if you want to be more specific:
Humans:
All +1 to any single Ability Score (Since humans are suppose be be most adaptable)
Subrace:
Desert: +1 Wis; -1 Str
Polar: +1 Str; -1 Dex
Mountain: +1 Dex; -1Int
etc
+1 to every single stat is silly, but at the same time I see no good reason that humans shouldn't have equal bonuses to a nonhuman race. Humans should have a number of floating stat bonuses equal to the number of stat bonuses all other races receive in addition to any other racial bonuses they may have (such as bonus skills, feats, etc). So if nonhuman races are given a +1 bonus to two stats then Humans should receive a +1 bonus to two stats as well, the difference being that they can select which two stats those bonuses go into. So a Human who selects +1 Dex, +1 Int can be just as good a Wizard as a High Elf. A Human who selects +1 Str, +1 Con can be just as good a Fighter as a Hill Dwarf. This justifies why humans excel in every class, whereas other races are known to favor certain classes, while supporting why they're so widespread in comparison to other races, in that they're so adaptable in their abilities.

This also serves game purposes because most campaign settings are predominantly populated by humans, so humans should be an equally viable choice for every class as whatever race is best suited for it. A Mountain Dwarf is best suited by his stats to be a Cleric, but a Human should be equally suited, at least statwise. For the player who wants to be a Cleric, he shouldn't feel disadvantaged when it comes to stats because he chooses one over the other. By allowing for equal stat bonuses, the only mechanical choice are the additional racial abilities, which makes the choice more about RP and less about getting the best stats (Because let's face it, one of the things that made humans so unpopular in 2E was that their stats were worse than their nonhuman counterparts).

Nor is it overpowered. Yes, that means that humans will be good at every class, but being good at every class doesn't equate to being better. For instance, let's say Dragonborn make it back into the game with +1 Str, +1 Cha. A Human who selects a +1 Str, +1 Cha bonus will be just as good at being a Paladin as a Dragonborn statwise, but that doesn't make the Human better. A player who wants to be a Paladin may opt for a Dragonborn over a Human because he wants the dragon breath attack, or may opt for a Human because he wants the bonus feat or whatever other racial ability Humans are given, or he may choose between one of those two races for RP reasons. Either way, the player won't be punished mechanically when it comes to stats if he chooses to play a Human, nor is the Human the superior choice.

In a sense this also harkens back to the days of 2E when Humans could be every class while nonhumans had class limits. Nowadays nonhumans can be every class, but they excel at some classes more than others, which somewhat reinforces the idea of preferred classes. Dwarves favor being Fighters and Clerics over Rogues and Wizards because they gain the most advantage from their stat bonuses when they play those classes. Elves favor being Rogues and Wizards over Paladins and Sorcerers because they gain the most advantage from their stat bonuses when they're trained as those classes, and so on. In my opinion, Humans should be an equally viable choice for every single class, as viable as the nonhuman races which has stats that make it ideal for that class. And for that to be the case then Humans should have an equal amount of stat bonuses as nonhuman races, except that theirs should be a floating bonus which players should be allowed to assign at will.

Beyond that, Humans should get additional racial abilities which open up additional options for them. A bonus skill and bonus feat like in 3E would be nice, but that might be problematic as those are supposedly going to be optional rules in 5E. Another alternative might be to have a list of racial abilities which Humans can choose from, with the bonus skill and feat two choices from the list. That could be used to distinguish Humans from each other even further. Some may have physical bonuses, like a speed bonus, others may be more learned and known an additional language, and so on.
Agreed.  That's why my idea had humans get a bonus to their choice of ability score.  The other thing to my format was to give each a +1 in an appropriate score, then each subrace would have another, more specific +1 bonus along with specific -1 penalty to balance it.  That way, those who want the simplest game possible can forego the subrace and each race has a signature bonus, and for a little more depth one can use a subrace that won't make the character more powerful, just tailored to a more specific culture.  That makes a distinction between race and culture, but keeps them linked at the same time.
Other races with more distinct differences might justify a +/-2, like a half-ogre having a +2 Str.  For subraces it could be divided by which culture raised them, human-raised or ogre-raised, presenting a different secondary +1, -1 (or 2, depending).
As for other human racial abilities, it's tricky to keep it off feats and skills.  I'd love to hear some ideas.
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



The devs are talking about having to increase the power of feats to match a +1 to an ability score. That's a huge benefit with bounded accuracy.
Well, I'd prefer to have no penalties at all. That was one of the few things I liked about 4E. A Lightfoot Halfling is particularly adept at being a Bard, but it's nice to be able to play, say, a Half-Orc Bard without being horribly gimped in the process. It's particularly painful when you're using point buy to build a character and you're burning points in a principal stat just to offset a -2 penalty which severely weakens the rest of your character.

As for what bonuses a human could get, it partially depends on the mechanics in 5E. Nobody could've ever suggested a bonus At-Will power in 4E if they hadn't known about At-Will powers yet (although that was a pretty meaningless bonus). And looking over the playtest packet I so far haven't seen any saving throws like Fort, Ref, Will, and so on, so I don't know if a saving throw bonus would be an option. And of course skills and feats are currently being treated as optional rules, so you can't have racial abilities which may not factor in at all.

My suggestion, though, would be to have a list of features and a Human player selects three or four of them (looking at the current race list, dwarves and elves have about six racial traits while Halflings have four), with bonus skills and a bonus feat being two of the choices. Another option I'd like to see is a racial ability which gives a Human some of the features of a Large creature. I think Goliaths had something similar in 3E. You have to be between 7'-8', weigh a whole lot more, and have reduced AC, but two-handed melee weapons can be wielded one-handed. What might be interesting would be to make Half-Elves and Half-Orcs additional choices for Human traits. If you select one you can't select the other, and selecting it means that you have elf or orc blood in your veins, and gain a racial ability associated with either race.
I want to return to the human baseline. Humans get no modifiers, other races get bonuses and penalties. I also want the maximum ability score to be 18 unless you have a racial bonus.

I respect the argument that such a system disuades particular builds, which is why I believe there should be the option to take no racial modifiers, bonus or penalty.

I don't feel that the current system fits my needs or the needs of the person who wants any race and class combination to be viable. It's a poor compromise all around.
Nah, humans need to have racial bonuses, too, because those stat bonuses are the most important bonus one can get from race. Back in 2E hardly anyone ever played a human because they didn't get stat bonuses. That's a big deal, moreso than any other racial bonuses. Doubly so with 5E, since bonuses are so few and far between, so racial bonuses are even more important. And any race and class is viable, so long as there are no penalties. Once you start applying racial penalties, though, you make it difficult for players to succeed with unusual race/class combos. A Half-Orc Bard is already on average a worse Bard than a Lightfoot Halfling. He doesn't need to be made even worse with a Cha penalty.
But unusual race/class combos should be more difficult.  That's why they're unusual.  If they weren't more difficult, they'd become usual.  I don't think a -1 cripples or gimps a character build.  I don't think it 'extremely' weakens it.  Even in the point buy, you're talking about the difference between a 14 and a 15, which doesn't even affect the modifier at start.  Furthermore, with the classes granting a bonus to their primary stat, it tends to offset the penalty to balance out.  Fighters get a +1 to Str, Dex or Con, so I've no doubt that Bards wlll get a +1 to Cha (other options will probably be Int or Dex).  Yes, you may not be able to max it out as easily, but I don't think that's unreasonable when playing a race/class combo that's less ideal.  Then, if you use +1 bonuses in place of Feats (either because you're not using the Feat system or because it's an option and you use it), it's even easier to get that stat to 20. 
Granted, for something like a Half-orc Bard  (which I'd probably give a -1 Cha, not a -2), it's reasonable to think that the Cha penalty might not apply when he's performing for Orcs or Half-orcs specifically, but that's something the DM can make a judgement on at the time.  Typically, the 'prettier' races would find him gruff and ugly.  That's just a nuance of Charisma as an ability score.  For things like Str penalties, it's a matter of size and less subject to circumstance.
Well, suffice to say, I disagree. I don't see any benefit to making unusual race/class combos even more difficult. That was one of the 4E changes which I did like. The player who's making the decision to play a suboptimal race and class combination is already being penalized in that he's playing a character which isn't as good as it could be if he chose a more optimal combination, like a Hill Dwarf for a Fighter instead of a High Elf. I don't see any reason to further punish a player who decides they want to play something unusual. That's essentially double taxation. They're getting penalized for not playing a race which grants a bonus to a relevant ability score, and an ability penalty penalizes them yet again when they play a class for which their penalized stat is that classes primary score. Stat penalties are something which hopefully will never rear their ugly head again.
They're not being penalized by choosing one bonus over another.  Even the penalty for choosing a less suited race is somewhat offset by what is still useful from that race's bonus.  One single ability score is not the only one that matters to a class.  Even a Bard benefits from a Str, Dex or Con bonus.  At some point, he'll end up in combat.  He may have to put more into making up for the lower Cha, but it's a point he didn't have to put into Con.  The other racial traits aren't affected by that either and still benefit.  It's not as detrimental to the character as people seem to think, but it makes the racial choice a somewhat more significant one and makes the races more distinct from each other.  A character not omptomizing the primary stat for his class being such an issue is also predicated on the idea that class is the only thing the stats matter for.  Since saves are ability checks, even if a halfling fighter had a -1 Str to overcome, he'd be getting a +1 Dex that helps his AC and Dex saves, and if he's a Stout Halfling, even with that same -1 Str from being smaller, he'd have his +1 Dex as well as a +1 Con that helps HP and Con saves.
I just don't see how a -1 in a single ability score makes an unusual race/class combo not viable.  In a lot of cases it doesn't even make it more difficult, it just makes it different, and isn't that the point of playing it?  I mean, if the lack of a +1 to the most typical ability score for a given class is as unusual as it gets, then the so-called 'unusual' race/class combo really isn't significantly unusual.  A half-orc bard is no longer an oddity, it's just a bard that could use a breath mint.
They're not being penalized by choosing one bonus over another.  Even the penalty for choosing a less suited race is somewhat offset by what is still useful from that race's bonus.  One single ability score is not the only one that matters to a class.  Even a Bard benefits from a Str, Dex or Con bonus.  At some point, he'll end up in combat.  He may have to put more into making up for the lower Cha, but it's a point he didn't have to put into Con.  The other racial traits aren't affected by that either and still benefit.  It's not as detrimental to the character as people seem to think, but it makes the racial choice a somewhat more significant one and makes the races more distinct from each other.  A character not omptomizing the primary stat for his class being such an issue is also predicated on the idea that class is the only thing the stats matter for.  Since saves are ability checks, even if a halfling fighter had a -1 Str to overcome, he'd be getting a +1 Dex that helps his AC and Dex saves, and if he's a Stout Halfling, even with that same -1 Str from being smaller, he'd have his +1 Dex as well as a +1 Con that helps HP and Con saves.
I just don't see how a -1 in a single ability score makes an unusual race/class combo not viable.  In a lot of cases it doesn't even make it more difficult, it just makes it different, and isn't that the point of playing it?  I mean, if the lack of a +1 to the most typical ability score for a given class is as unusual as it gets, then the so-called 'unusual' race/class combo really isn't significantly unusual.  A half-orc bard is no longer an oddity, it's just a bard that could use a breath mint.



Exactly.  And I think penalties could be off-set further if each race had a couple of class-specific feats that gave them something extra for each class that no other race gets.  The penalties to stats should apply more to saves and skills than to any iconic class features.  That's why I'm in favour of halving the bonuses to things like attack rolls or spell DCs so that a penalty doesn't go to the heart of character mechanics.
Well, suffice to say, I disagree. I don't see any benefit to making unusual race/class combos even more difficult. That was one of the 4E changes which I did like. The player who's making the decision to play a suboptimal race and class combination is already being penalized in that he's playing a character which isn't as good as it could be if he chose a more optimal combination, like a Hill Dwarf for a Fighter instead of a High Elf. I don't see any reason to further punish a player who decides they want to play something unusual. That's essentially double taxation. They're getting penalized for not playing a race which grants a bonus to a relevant ability score, and an ability penalty penalizes them yet again when they play a class for which their penalized stat is that classes primary score. Stat penalties are something which hopefully will never rear their ugly head again.



You and I clearly come from different perpectives as to the purpose of racial modifiers. For me, it's very important that they exist to represent how races differ physically and mentally from humans. And It is also important to me that they do differ. I consider the idea that some races are better than others at particular classes to be to the betterment of the game.

I do understand your perpective, though. But aren't all racial ability score modifiers antithetical to it? Wouldn't it make more sense for you to have races differ only by their class features?

Humans have the short end of the stick on vision too.

I think humans are currently underpowered. Give them a bonus feat and a bonus trained skill to represent the various human "cultures" and then we should be good.
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



Wait, you think a +1 is a WEAK benefit?

compared to a decent feat?  yes. 
+1 dex vs advantage on initiative checks
+1 dex vs  +1 AC
+1 cha vs immunity to disadvantage on cha checks (might be OP on paladins)

now lets check racial passives
+1 stat vs +1 AC
+1 stat vs resistance to poison
+1 stat vs immunity to automatic fails

so yes, given the stat cap (which i like as it means that fighters won't be forced put all their points in strength and con).  as for what humans ought to get for racial passives, how about a few extra skills, or maybe some flat bonuses to skill checks for skills they have training in and give them a +1 to attack rolls.   

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

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Humans have the short end of the stick on vision too. I think humans are currently underpowered. Give them a bonus feat and a bonus trained skill to represent the various human "cultures" and then we should be good.



I agree that they're shafted, but the problem with using a feat and a trained skill to offset that is the idea that feats and trained skills will be optional.  If your group doesn't use them, the Human goes right back to the short end.  They need something that sits in the core rules.  While I like humans to be the blank slate race, I think I'd still like to see them get some sort of ability(ies) that are uniquely human.  It's tricky.
I think there is an easier solution.  Other races get +1 in two specifically designated stats. Humans should get +1 in 3 (or perhaps possibly even 4) in ANY stats they select... There could even be the option to allow stacking (3 stat points, which can be spread +1/+1/+1 or +2/+1) AND they could get a bonus feat. This might make up for some of the other benefits. 

We don't need to bring back minuses to give better balance to humans. 

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theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



The devs are talking about having to increase the power of feats to match a +1 to an ability score. That's a huge benefit with bounded accuracy.

While there certainly exist feats  that need to be made more useful, the prsence of a stat cap means that the +1 bonus will be useful early on, but becomes less  useful as you gain levels and approach the cap.  

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

Another thing I want to fling into the conversation is a mathmatical support for the penalties.  With the stat cap as it is, racial bonuses/penalties should probably stay at 1 (I think that's mostly agreed).  That said, it takes 2 points to change a modifier.  By way of example, I think a halfling and a half-orc should have a difference in their base strength that covers at least a single modifier.  So the halfling's proposed -1 Str and the half-orc's +1 Str cover exactly that span, making the difference actually pronounced in the game.  Each one is only modified by 1 so they don't greatly impact each character, but the difference between them is 2 which makes the relative difference prounounced.
I think there is an easier solution.  Other races get +1 in two specifically designated stats. Humans should get +1 in 3 (or perhaps possibly even 4) in ANY stats they select... There could even be the option to allow stacking (3 stat points, which can be spread +1/+1/+1 or +2/+1) AND they could get a bonus feat. This might make up for some of the other benefits. 

We don't need to bring back minuses to give better balance to humans. 



I disagree here.  I think just adding more stat bonuses is bland.  It doesn't give any flavor to the race.  Also I don't think it's terribly good balance.  You can essentially have a human who is, at his base, as smart as a high elf, as nimble as a halfling, and as strong as a hill dwarf all at once before building on it at all.
I think +1 in any one stat maintains the human versatility and keeps that bonus balanced with the others.  The problem with a bonus feat as we've discusssed is that feats may be optional.  I'm working on thinking up some specifically human traits that actually make use of their versatility in an interesting and meaningful way, not just a generic way.  It's going to take more thinking . . . damn.
I've come up with the following so far:


Traits

As a human, you have the following racial traits, and may choose four additional bonus traits from the list below.


Ability Score Adjustment: Two of your starting ability scores are each increased by 1.


Size: Medium.


Speed: 30 feet.


Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common, as well as a number of additional languages of your choice equal to your Intelligence modifier, provided it is positive. 


Bonus Traits:



  • Giant-Blooded: You must be between 7 feet and 8 feet tall. You may wield weapons with the two-handed property one-handed so long as they don’t also have the ammunition, double, or reach properties, but suffer a -1 penalty to Armor Class due to your large size.

  • Learned: You gain two skills of your choice and may speak, read, and write one additional language.

  • Adaptable: You gain an additional feat of your choice. Your character must meet the feat’s prerequisites as normal.

  • Fleet of Foot: Your speed increases by 5 feet.

  • Luck of Heroes: You gain a +1 bonus to saving throws.

Naturally that list of traits is one that should grow. There should be 8-10, IMO. I'm also trying to think up bonuses for shorter, more wiry humans (BTW: With "Giant-Blooded" I don't mean the literal descendant of a giant, but rather just an extremely large human. Like Goliath from the Bible, or Gregor Clegane from the Song of Ice and Fire series).
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



The devs are talking about having to increase the power of feats to match a +1 to an ability score. That's a huge benefit with bounded accuracy.

While there certainly exist feats  that need to be made more useful, the prsence of a stat cap means that the +1 bonus will be useful early on, but becomes less  useful as you gain levels and approach the cap.  



That's true in a build where your stats increase as you gain levels with no additional investment of character building resources.  In the next build your stats can only increase if you spend your feat slots increasing them.  +1 to a stat will be more valuable in that system.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
theyre not bringing back penalities, and i seriously hope feats don't become so weak that +1 to an ability score is a fair tradeoff.



The devs are talking about having to increase the power of feats to match a +1 to an ability score. That's a huge benefit with bounded accuracy.

While there certainly exist feats  that need to be made more useful, the prsence of a stat cap means that the +1 bonus will be useful early on, but becomes less  useful as you gain levels and approach the cap.  



That's true in a build where your stats increase as you gain levels with no additional investment of character building resources.  In the next build your stats can only increase if you spend your feat slots increasing them.  +1 to a stat will be more valuable in that system.



Doesn't the Character Creation PDF include a level progression chart that has stat increases to two stats every four levels?  Has that been changed?
Yes.  That's why I specified the next build.

They're discussing balancing feats against +1 to a stat in future builds.  They're also discussing the removal of the current level-based stat improvements in favor of adding a feat that adds +1 to any stat, and then giving out more feats in future builds.

The intent is to allow more or less complexity at the same table by making increased stats come out of the same pool of resources as feats.  The theory is that the DM can use feats, and players who crave simplicity can just spend all of their feats increasing their stats and not fall behind the players who care to choose feats.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
Racial ability penalties discourage many from exploring creative combinations. Such penalties rarely improve game play.
I don't affectionate racial penalties that much as well. But I totally agree with the fact that the Next Humans are mostly uninteresting, and since there's a race for every ability score, humans only stand as a second choice, statistically speaking.

Nobody really needs +1 in every ability, the usefulness of such an advantage is overrated.

Humans could get +1 to one (or two?) ability score(s) of their choice and the Superior Skill Training Feat (granting them two extra skills). It could also be any interesting bonus, as long as it's different than ability score bonuses.

A DM could state that a Human coming from a chosen homeland would get +1 on two specific ability scores and choose two skills (maybe from a list of three?) based on the homeland's traits.

This is just a suggestion...
Racial ability penalties discourage many from exploring creative combinations. Such penalties rarely improve game play.



That really depends on where you find the majority of your enjoyment. If it's more about playing a cool character, then arguably ability score penalties detract (though I believe playing off concept is more interesting with penalties).


But if you find most of your enjoyment in playing within a cool setting, then racial penalties reinforce that setting and are more fun.
Humans as a Race are just bland and mechanical. 

I'd much prefer some attempt at implying different cultures as sub-race write ups (like they do with other Races), maybe based upon habitat or whatnot. I know that Humans are supposed to be adaptive but the collective fluff written for them is just boring.

At the same time, could we please get rid of the +1 on every Ability score? It just looks demented, and like giving away bonuses for the sake of it.

I know it's in attempt to balance Humans with other Races, but I'd actually prefer if we went back to non-human Races getting a few penalties (like -2 Strength for Halflings) where appropriate anyway. 

Cheers. 




Please no return to negative ability modifiers.  I understand that cultural differences can cause a need for different human race traits and agree they are needed but it would be best if they were handled by environment as most cultures develop based on need first and foremost. 

Ahh, hahaha.  Next as in the one after this one, not Next as in D&D 'Next'.  Gotcha.  Thanks for the fill in lol.
Racial ability penalties discourage many from exploring creative combinations. Such penalties rarely improve game play.

Exactly. I remember someone in my area who played a Half-Orc Bard in Living Greyhawk. It was an interesting choice, but he was absolutely terrible at it because of the nature of point buy and the -2 penalty to Cha. He had to burn the points for a 16 or 17 in Cha just to get a 14 or 15 in his primary stat. He already wouldn't have been as good as a member of a race who had +2 Cha who would've gotten Cha 18 or 19 with the same exact point buy, so why penalize him even further? Stat bonuses are good in that they do help reinforce racial class stereotypes, but stat penalties only kill interest in someone stepping outside of those narrow boxes and doing something different. And IMO, a willingness to play a Half-Orc Bard is something that shouldn't be punished with a stat penalty.
Racial ability penalties discourage many from exploring creative combinations. Such penalties rarely improve game play.

Exactly. I remember someone in my area who played a Half-Orc Bard in Living Greyhawk. It was an interesting choice, but he was absolutely terrible at it because of the nature of point buy and the -2 penalty to Cha. He had to burn the points for a 16 or 17 in Cha just to get a 14 or 15 in his primary stat. He already wouldn't have been as good as a member of a race who had +2 Cha who would've gotten Cha 18 or 19 with the same exact point buy, so why penalize him even further? Stat bonuses are good in that they do help reinforce racial class stereotypes, but stat penalties only kill interest in someone stepping outside of those narrow boxes and doing something different. And IMO, a willingness to play a Half-Orc Bard is something that shouldn't be punished with a stat penalty.



But the bonuses and hypothetical penalties aren't 2.  They're 1. So instead of a +2 bonus putting the race 1 modifier point up, it just adds one to the stat, not really creating a significant difference.  If, however, one class has a +1 and the other has a -1 it's the same difference as the +2 bonus/no bonus disparity, creating a difference of a single modifier point, but spreading it over the two races so the either is only affected by 1 point.  It reduces the effect on either race, but maintains the difference between them.
That still widens the gap even further, particularly since many people will be using point buy, so the changes are even more pronounced in that case. Whatever the case, I don't think we need penalties to accentuate differences between races. We've already got bonuses and race features for that, nevermind the actual appearance of the races. Penalties are wholly unnecessary, in addition to being limiting to creative gameplay ideas.
That still widens the gap even further, particularly since many people will be using point buy, so the changes are even more pronounced in that case. Whatever the case, I don't think we need penalties to accentuate differences between races. We've already got bonuses and race features for that, nevermind the actual appearance of the races. Penalties are wholly unnecessary, in addition to being limiting to creative gameplay ideas.



The bonuses aren't big enough to pronounce any signifacnt difference.  With the human getting a +1 to everything, the bonuses are pointless.  The traits are partly irrelivant to class and partly directive of the same 'pidgeonholing' that stat penalties are claimed to be.  The appearance of the race is a cosmetic aspect that doesn't have any real impact on the point being discussed.  If you really can't build a character without maxing out the important ability scores, the only race to play is human.  The +1 to all stats needs to go and should probably be replaced by a +1 to choice of stat.  That resets the baseline.  After that, a +/- 1 to adjust off that baseline leaves only a small adjustment but puts two ends of a small spectrum to be on.  2 points between the weakest and the strongest is hardly enough to prevent creative ideas.  That argument is exagerated.
That argument is exagerated.

And I think your argument is needlessly restrictive with no actual benefit to gameplay. If you don't think it's big enough to provide any difference, then why have a penalty at all?

If you really can't build a character without maxing out the important ability scores, the only race to play is human.

Because people do care about race/class combos, and so long as they're not being mechanically gimped, then they're willing to try oddball combinations. It's one thing not to have a bonus to a primary stat, but it's another matter to have a penalty to that primary stat, which is even more painful when you're using point buy to build a character. Besides, I very much doubt that humans will end up keeping a +1 bonus to every stat at the end of the day. We're still in the early days of playtesting, after all, and that's probably just a placeholder until they come up with something better.
A -1 to a stat doesn't gimp a character.  People played oddball race/class combos when there were +2/-2 adjustments.  This theory that +1/-1 is going to preclude those combos is an exageration.
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